László B., accused of the murder of Fanni Novozánszki, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Metropolitan Court of Budapest on Wednesday. According to the first instance verdict, the man could be released on parole after 25 years at the earliest.
According to the indictment, László B. assaulted the woman in the autumn of 2017, then took her valuables and the helpless victim from his car, tied up her body, attached a weight to it, and threw it into the Danube near Szalkszentmárton the next day. László B. denied any wrongdoing.
While delivering his verdict, which lasted for several hours, the judge pointed out that he had handed down a verdict in an unusual case, and that the legal community was also interested in whether a man could be convicted if the body had not been found. He added that the defendant had maintained throughout that the victim was alive and had moved away, but that his defense was in contradiction with the evidence and even had a number of fairy-tale twists. The judge said that the fact that the accused was seen on camera carrying the motionless woman in his arms and the fact of the car ride in Szalkszentmárton, which the man denied, were two of the two endpoints of the crime. The body has not been found despite the fact that the authorities have been searching for her for a year, sparing no effort, energy, or capacity.
The judge explained that the court had to answer three questions: whether Fanni Novozánszki was alive or not, if not, what caused her death, and if she was killed, who did it.
László B.’s testimony was full of misrepresentations, but the court was able to resolve the contradictions, “not allowing itself to be misled,” he said.
The court agreed with the prosecution that László B. had no steady job or regular income at the time of the crime, but had a lavish lifestyle, which led him to borrow regularly from friends and acquaintances, and accumulate substantial debts. An acquaintance of the victim, who worked as a prostitute, told him about her good financial situation, her considerable income, and a large amount of cash she had accumulated in her Budapest apartment. He decided to obtain money from her, even by force, but she refused to meet him.
On the evening of November 20, 2017, the victim finally let the man into her apartment, and the crime was deemed to have been committed at that time.
Regarding the blood found in the accused’s rented car, the man had earlier claimed that traces of the meat juice he had bought a few days earlier were found, but the expert confirmed that it came from Fanni Novozanski, the judge noted.
The fact that the man did not take the money Novozanski had saved for her breast augmentation surgery from the apartment does not mean that he did not want to take it, he said. He added that only the accused knows exactly how the murder happened, but the woman had already died in the apartment. Yet no evidence of a struggle or traces of blood were found in the apartment, but there was so much blood in the car that it was soaked into the upholstery.
The accused also failed the polygraph examination when asked, among other things, whether he had killed VV Fanni and whether he had hidden the body in the Danube. He also searched the internet for narcotics before their meeting, and two days after the incident for deaths occurring in the water, and for a country with which Hungary did not have an extradition treaty. He was looking for a one-way ticket for one person to Belize. He even checked the police website to see if they were looking for him,” the judge said.
During the proceedings, Lászlo B. attempted to defend himself by saying that he was only helping the victim, who was in a helpless state, and that was why she was seen in his arms and why he was put her in his car. He added that she had “gotten drunk and high,” so he took her to “people who could help” at her request. However, CCTV footage showed that the victim was not in the flat at the time of the meeting.
Based on expert reports and the evidence, it is clear that the accused put an end to Fanni Novozánszki’s life, the judge said, noting that the man’s actions were characterized by the same unscrupulousness that had taken her life. In imposing the sentence, the court also took into account the fact that there was an increase in the number of killings in which the perpetrator tried to dispose of the body, and the accused also deprived the victim’s relatives of the right to bury her and to commemorate her with flowers at her grave.
Fanni Novozánszki’s mother was also present at the sentencing.
The court ordered the defendant’s arrest and he was handcuffed by police officers in the courtroom. The verdict is not final, and the prosecution appealed for a different finding of fact and for a parole term of 30 years. The accused and his defense team have appealed for an acquittal.
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