A killer whose bloody footprints were used to solve a 30-year-old murder near the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes has been jailed for life.

Sandip Patel, who helped at his father’s newsagent Sherlock Holmes News on Baker Street in London, stabbed 39-year-old Marina Koppel more than 140 times in her rented flat in nearby Chiltern Street on August 8 1994.

The then 21-year-old student’s finger marks were found on a carrier bag in Colombian-born Mrs Koppel’s kitchen but he was not treated as a suspect at the time.

He was charged with her murder last year after his DNA was matched to hair on the victim’s ring and he was linked by a bloody footprint on a skirting board.

Sandip Patel court caseMarina Koppel (Metropolitan Police/PA)

During the attack, he had allegedly extracted Mrs Koppel’s bank card pin and used the number to withdraw money near his home.

Patel, 51, of Finchley Road, north London, had denied murder but declined to give evidence in his defence.

Mr Justice Cavanagh, sentencing at the Old Bailey on Friday, said: “The terror and pain that you inflicted on Mrs Koppel is difficult to imagine.

“You deprived Ms Koppel of many more years of life.

“No sentence that I pass can compensate the family of Mrs Koppel for their loss.”

Mr Justice Cavanagh sentenced Patel to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years, using guidelines that were in place when the murder occurred in 1994.

He said aggravating factors included the use of and attempted disposal of a knife, the gratuitous and sustained violence, the vulnerability of Mrs Koppel and a lack of remorse.

Patel did not appear in court for the sentencing, but weeping could be heard in the public gallery once it was passed.

Sandip Patel court caseSandip Patel in 1994 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Mrs Koppel, who had two children in Colombia, rented the flat in London because she worked as a masseuse and a sex worker, the court heard.

Her husband, who lived in Northampton, “did not necessarily approve” of her work but “accepted it”, jurors were told.

Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC said little was known of Mrs Koppel’s last movements.

On the evening of August 7 1994, she had entered a poker tournament at the Victoria Sporting Club casino and met a client at a Heathrow hotel before returning to London.

The mother-of-two’s last known sighting was a visit to Midland Bank on Baker Street at 1:42pm the following day.

That evening, Mr Koppel returned to her flat near Baker Street Tube station to find she had been murdered.

Mr Koppel drove to the capital because his wife was not answering her telephone, finding her body shortly before 11:30pm on the floor of a bedroom where she took clients.

She was covered in blood and wearing only black lacy lace-up lingerie that she might wear if she was expecting one of her clients, jurors were told.

Sandip Patel court casePatel’s footmark was identified in blood stain at the scene (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Mr Emlyn Jones said she had been stabbed more than 140 times during the “sustained and savage” attack.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Koppel’s son Javier Rios said: “It is not easy for me to re-live the saddest moment of my life after 29 years.

“I am convinced that my mum had a lot of life to live still, it was not her time and this is very painful – it tears my very soul.

“I hope to be able to close this chapter and to remember my mother how she was – the best mother in the world.”

Martin Koppel, the brother-in-law of Mrs Koppel, described her in his statement as “a dynamic and vivacious personality” and said that Mr Koppel had suffered “an increasingly rapid decline” following his wife’s death.

He added: “He (Mr Koppel) actually really wanted his life to be over as there was no drive in him. The day Marina was murdered, I lost my brother.”

Even though Patel’s finger marks were found on an unbranded plastic bag in the kitchen, he was not treated as a suspect because he would have handled bags from nearby Sherlock Holmes News, as it was run by his father at the time.

Patel only became a confirmed suspect in 2022 after his DNA was matched to a hair found by a scientist on the ring in 2008.

Although technology was still not advanced enough then for scientists to get a DNA profile, it was preserved until 2022 and re-examined.

The bloody footprint was found at the scene in 1994 and matched to Patel after he was made a suspect, the prosecutor said.

Mr Koppel died in 2005, never discovering who murdered his wife.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street.