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International career criminal sentenced to life imprisonment

An “international career criminal” who carried out a brutal double murder, stabbing two men numerous times before fleeing the country, has been found guilty of murder 11 years on and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Gonzalo Andreas Gomez Remolina, 40 (2.10.77) of no fixed address, was convicted at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 9 August of killing Carlos Andres Ayala Carmona and Ruben Rodriguez Fuente in Clapham in June 2007.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve a minimum term of 33 years.
After carrying out the violent attacks with his brother – who took his own life in prison while awaiting trial –Gomez Remolina fled to Mexico City but was found and extradited to the UK in January 2018.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Esther Richardson, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “This was an incredibly violent attack by a Colombian man described in court as an international career criminal.
“He and his brother went out that night very clear on their intentions – to take revenge and kill Carlos as part of an ongoing dispute they had with him. Carlos was stabbed more than 30 times and died from massive blood loss. Ruben had not been involved but lost his life simply because he was there and could have identified them.
“Both killers fled abroad after the murder but the investigation was never closed and more than a decade later we were able to bring Gomez Remolina back to this country to face justice.
“DNA found at the scene placed his brother there and we were able to prove there was no doubt Gomez Remolina had also been involved due to extensive evidence gathered about his relationship with Carlos.
“I hope that today’s conviction has provided some comfort to the family, who remain devastated at the loss of their loved ones. I would like to thank them for their patience with the investigation over the last eleven years; they have been incredibly dignified and never given up hope of justice.”
The court heard that on the night of 5 June 2007 just before midnight, Carlos, 28, originally from Colombia and Ruben, 30, a Spanish national, went to a block of flats in Muller Road, SW4 where Carlos lived with his girlfriend and family on the top floor.
Inside the communal entrance, they were attacked by two men – Gomez Remolina and his 24-year-old brother Cristian Mauricio Gomez Remolina – who were either lying in wait or who had followed them inside.
Carlos died on the ground floor of the block, having been stabbed 30 times. Ruben was also attacked and tried to escape upstairs. The men caught up with him between the fourth and fifth floors and finished what they had begun. In total Ruben was stabbed eight times.
The motive for the attack appeared to be an act of revenge against Carlos who had joined Gomez Remolina and his brother in committing at least one burglary. Carlos had then fallen out with the pair over dividing the proceeds and there had been an escalating dispute between the three.
It is believed Ruben Rodriguez Fuente was killed simply because he was there and would have been able to identify the murderers.
Gomez Remolina and his brother had arrived separately in the UK just two months before the murders, travelling on false Mexican passports when in fact they were both Colombians from the Bogota area.
They had arrived from Japan, where Gomez Remolina had just served a prison sentence for burglary, along with their girlfriends. Together they rented a flat in Flaxman Road, Camberwell.
On 15 May 2007, the defendant and his brother travelled to Edmonton to buy a Vauxhall Cavalier using a false name, Carlos was with them. He had become involved with the brothers after buying stolen laptops from them.
On the way back they drove around the Swiss Cottage area looking at wealthy addresses to burgle. They discussed how they could trick their way into properties by pretending to be from BT and saying they had come to check equipment.
Carlos told his girlfriend he had been invited by Gonzalo Andreas Gomez Remolina and his brother to take part in their burglaries and a week before his murder acted as a getaway driver following a break-in. The brothers promised Carlos he would get his share of the proceeds. However, Carlos wasn’t happy, believing his share should be considerably higher.
A dispute began, which quickly escalated and Carlos sent some people, one allegedly armed with a gun, around to the brothers’ flat, to break in and recover his share of the proceeds. The brothers were assaulted and their girlfriends tied up before cash and jewellery were stolen.
Amid a series of tit-for-tat incidents and threats, the brothers sought revenge for the break-in and began planning to murder Carlos.
Hours before the killings, the brothers and their girlfriends left their flat, having handed in their notice some days before.
CCTV traced them driving towards Muller Road. They parked on Plummer Road, a few minutes’ walk away from Carlos’ address.
Neighbours then heard banging, shouts and screams from the ground floor communal area of the flats. They came out to find Carlos and Ruben bleeding heavily and called 999. Ruben was asked who had done this to him. His last words were “Los Rolos” – a nickname for those from the Bogota region of Colombia.
Armed police and uniformed officers attended and began CPR on both men until the London Ambulance Service arrived.
They died in hospital, Carlos at 01:00hrs and Ruben at 02:01hrs.
A post-mortem examination revealed Carlos had been stabbed 30 times across his body. He had wounds on his arms, legs and hands caused by trying to fight off his attackers.
Ruben had been stabbed eight times, four times in the back.
No one saw Carlos being stabbed, but there were some residents who witnessed the attack on Ruben and saw the men running off. It looked like one was wearing a wig.
The scene was forensically examined. DNA from blood was recovered from Cristian Mauricio Gomez Remolina both inside and outside the block, presumably after he also suffered some injuries in the frenzied attack. A glove found just inside the communal front door also had his DNA on as well as a baseball cap found by the lifts.
There was no scientific evidence linking Gonzalo Andreas Gomez Remolina to the scene but detectives quickly pieced together the background to the incident. The prosecution said it was “inconceivable” he had not been involved.
The brothers fled the scene and within hours were at Waterloo Station. They paid £900 cash for one-way tickets to Paris with their girlfriends.
Cristian Mauricio Gomez Remolina travelled onto Spain using false documents where he was arrested on 28 June 2007 in possession of a false passport and a large amount of jewellery, believed to have been stolen. He was extradited to the UK to stand trial but committed suicide at HMP Highdown in July 2008 while on remand.
Gonzalo Andreas Gomez Remolina made his way to Mexico and in 2011 the Serious and Organised Crime Agency was informed he was in prison there. He was serving a sentence of 11 years and three months for robbery. Fingerprint checks identified him and after finishing his sentence, he was extradited to the UK in January 2018.
The family of Carlos said: “The last 11 years have been a desperately sad time for us as a family. The murder of Carlos has affected us all greatly. Carlos was devoted to his family and his kindness and love will never be forgotten. We are grateful that justice has now been served and we hope that we may now be able to move forward with our treasured memories of Carlos.”
The family of Ruben said today: “The brutal death of Ruben, our precious son and brother has been insufferable. Ruben was a much-loved man who would have done anything for anyone, he was so kind, caring and considerate. Our family have endured the greatest heartache. We welcome the court result and are comforted that the person who killed Ruben has been held responsible. However, our sadness goes on, without Ruben.”

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