A 41-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of his ex-partner in Epsom in February at Guildford Crown Court today (Wednesday, 17 July).
Ricardo Godinho, of Kingston Road, Epsom, was found guilty of the killing of Aliny Mendes following a two and a half week trial. He will be sentenced tomorrow (18 July).
Aliny Mendes, 39, died at the roadside shortly after police were called following reports that a woman had been stabbed at the Sparrow Farm Road junction of London Road in Ewell on Friday, 8 February.
A manhunt was launched to find Ricardo Godinho after one of his colleagues called 999 to inform police he had confessed to killing Aliny. He was arrested on suspicion of murder an hour and a half later by officers after they stopped him in Malden Road, Cheam.
Two eye witnesses were able to positively identify Ricardo Godinho as the attacker, and the clothing he was arrested in matched the description that was provided by witnesses at the scene. Godinho was charged with murder on Sunday, 10 February.
A forensic post-mortem examination showed Aliny Mendes died after sustaining multiple stab wounds.
A knife found at the scene was shown to have caused the injuries Aliny had sustained. Forensic examinations linked Godinho to the knife
During the trial the court heard how the pair were married but had separated in late December 2018. Throughout this time Ricardo’s behaviour towards Aliny had become increasingly intimidating.
The court also heard how on Friday, 8 February Aliny had caught the bus with their three-year-old daughter to London Road. Godinho had been waiting in his vehicle for the bus to go past so he could follow it. As Aliny left the bus, Godinho got out of his car before confronting her and stabbing her multiple times. He dropped the weapon and fled the scene.
In a statetment, Aliny’s family said:
“Aliny was a beautiful, intelligent, happy, caring woman who was loved by so many people, both in the UK, and in her home country of Brazil. The events of Friday 8 February 2019 took away not only a sister, daughter, grandchild and friend, but more importantly, took a loving mother away from her four small children.
“The impact that Aliny’s death has left on her children is almost impossible to put into words. All four children are under the age of 12 years old and are now left with no mother which is so hard for them to process at such a young age. It’s the small things that will have an impact on their lives growing up.
“When the children are ill their mother will not there to soothe them, when they get good results at school, their mother will not be there to praise them, when they perform in a school play, their mother will not be there to applaud them, and on birthdays, graduations, wedding days and other momentous events, their mother will not be able to share in the celebration and the joy of the occasion.
“The family cannot express enough how our lives have changed and that it’s a daily struggle to not only come to terms with what has happened but to adapt to a new way of life. We are thankful for all the efforts by the criminal justice system but no sentence will ever replace or bring back our beautiful Aliny.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Chapman, from the Specialist Crime Command said: “This deeply tragic incident has left Aliny’s family and friends devastated and our thoughts and sympathies are with them today.
“Aliny was on her way to pick up her children from school when she was confronted and killed by Ricardo. Throughout the investigation we have spoken with many of Aliny’s family and friends and have heard about what a caring person she was with a ‘wonderful heart’. It is clear that Aliny’s priority was her children, whom she had so much love for. We will provide ongoing support to the family.
“The attack took place in broad daylight and continues to have a traumatic effect on those who witnessed it. I would like to thank those who witnessed what happened for their actions in the immediate aftermath, and the wider community for the way they pulled together at such an extremely difficult time. A number of those people have been in court giving evidence, and it is thanks to those brave individuals we have managed to get this verdict today.”
Claire Gallagher from the CPS said: “Ricardo Godinho intended to kill his wife, despite his claims that he had lost control following a row with her.
“That account of events was not supported by the evidence in the case, with eyewitnesses describing him as cold, calm and collected during the attack.
“In addition to this, he had a large knife with him, which was too large to just be left in his pocket, as the defendant had claimed. This clearly showed he had planned to kill the murder, rather than losing control at something she said to him.
“This was further corroborated by material on both his phone and computer, which showed his anger and resentment that his wife was seeking a new life for her and her children. One downloaded page referred to a wife being killed by her husband.”
Godinho pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder and the possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place at a pre-trial hearing at Central Criminal Court in London on 29 March.
Surrey Police will not tolerate any form of domestic abuse and has specially trained officers who deal with domestic abuse survivors in a sensitive and supportive way. All reports of domestic abuse offences are taken extremely seriously and it is important that anyone currently suffering at the hands of an abusive partner realises there is confidential help out there. Officers work in partnership with a number of agencies and voluntary organisations who provide vital support to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Please call 101 to report any domestic abuse, in an emergency always dial 999