Multi-millionaire who murdered his wife jailed for life

Robert Ekaireb

Robert Ekaireb

Jewish property tycoon Robert Ekaireb was jailed for life today for the murder of his pregnant wife.

Mr Ekaireb, 39, was recommended to serve a minimum 22 year sentence for the murder of China-born Li Hau Cao, a former lapdancer, in 2006.

The multi-millionaire, who owned more than 50 properties worth over £65 million and a jewellery business in Hatton Garden, was convicted last month.

During the trial at the Old Bailey, the jury heard that the 27-year-old victim, whose body has not been found, stopped working because her occupation was not in keeping with her husband’s Jewish tradition.

Weeks before her disappearance, Mr Ekaireb had booked a lie-detector test and hired a private detective to follow his wife, whom he suspected of adultery.

Ms Cao, believed to be four-months pregnant, was last seen at the couple’s Hampstead flat.

Li Hau Cao

Li Hau Cao

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Andy Manning said: “Mr Ekaireb was controlling, restricted her access to money and often lost his temper. [He] lost control and killed her as they argued on 23 October 2006 at their flat. He then disposed of her body, cleared up the flat and carried on with his life.”

Mr Ekaireb, from Hendon, north-west London, is of Iraqi-Jewish descent. His father Rex Ekaireb is the former chairman of the Sephardi Od Yosef Hai synagogue’s finance committee. The family are no longer members of the shul in Hendon.

Last updated: 10:55pm, January 7 2014