Man charged with murder of woman, 58, was said to owe thousands to loan sharks

A woman was bludgeoned to death in her west London home in a bungled burglary by a man who owed thousands of pounds to multiple loan sharks, a court has heard.

Armen Aristakesyan, 42, is charged with the murder of Serafima Meshaka, 58, who was left lying in a pool of blood in the shower at her flat in Haven Green, Ealing.

The court heard how Aristakesyan owed money to several people including more than £100,000 to a man known as “The Turk” and came to learn that Ms Meshaka kept large quantities of cash at her home.

Alexandra Healy QC, prosecuting, said: “(Ms Meshaka) was murdered in her home on the September 17 2019. She was 58 years old.

“She had been hit multiple times to the head with a blunt instrument.

“She was discovered the following day lying face down in her bathroom in a pool of dried blood.

“The last person to see her alive was the defendant, Armen Aristakesyan. He was, the prosecution say, the only person who could have killed her.”

The court heard that as well as being as a “guide and guardian” for Russian students in the UK, Ms Meshaka worked part-time as a personal assistant to a Russian/Israeli businessman.

Ms Healy said that at the time of her death, Aristakesyan, of Uxbridge Road, West Ealing, was “in a dire financial position.”

“He had borrowed money off anyone and everyone and was being pursued by all of his creditors,” she said.

“Most significantly he owed over £100,000 to someone who was referred to as ‘the Turk’. He had postponed repaying that money initially until September 10 2019.

“By September 2019 that very large debt had grown…to over £120,000.”

Jurors heard Aristakesyan had been in contact with three men in relation to pay back his debts and had made plans to get his hands on the “significant quantity of cash” he learned was kept in Ms Meshaka’s apartment.

Following examination of the defendant’s mobile phone recordings were found in which Aristakesyan tried to arrange for Ms Meshaka to attend the opera while he robbed her – though this plan later fell through.

Ms Healy said Aristakesyan was due to meet with his creditors on September 17 to repay the money so had decided to steal the money himself. She said the defendant had arrived at Ms Meshaka’s apartment first at 5pm but, finding that she was not alone, returned at 8.30pm.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of both instances, the second of which showed Artistakesyan carrying what to be a “bag for life” which, Ms Healy said, appeared “quite full”.

“The prosecution say that as he leaves Haven Green Court, he has been the last person to see Ms Meshaka alive,” she said.

The trial, at the Old Bailey, continues.