Thomasz Kocik and Marta Ligman
Thomasz Kocik and Marta Ligman were in a relationship before her body was found in a suitcase in Grand Union Canal

A fork-lift truck driver has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend, stuffing her body in a suitcase and tossing it into London's Grand Union Canal. Thomasz Kocik, 38, from Poland, was found guilty of murdering deli worker Marta Ligman after a jury trial at the Old Bailey.

Kocik was charged with the murder of 23-year-old Polish national Ligman, of Buckingham Road, Brent, in May after police discovered the victim's body in the canal, near Maida Vale, west London, three days earlier.

A post mortem revealed she died of "complications arising from blunt trauma to the trunk and limbs in association with hypothermia" and that she could have been alive still while she was in the suitcase. She had also suffered fractures to her ribs in the days before she died.

During the trial the court heard that the couple met online before Ligman moved from Poland to live with Kocik, who was described by friends as "obsessively jealous" and violent towards her. On Tuesday, 28 April, Marta spoke to her mother in Poland. This is the last known contact she had with anyone other than Kocik.

On 1 May, at about 6:30am, Kocik was seen on CCTV dragging a large heavy suitcase to the Grand Union Canal near Old Oak Lane. An hour later he was seen with wet trousers and without the suitcase. On 10 May, police were called to the Grand Union Canal near Maida Vale, after the occupants of a house boat reported a suitcase floating in the water.

Officers recovered the suitcase and found it to contain the body of a young woman, who was later identified as Marta. Her burnt and cut-up identity and bank cards were also found along the route used by Kocik.

Despite repeated pleas from Marta's family in Poland, Kocik failed to report her missing to the police, and only did so after the discovery of the body was reported in the media. It emerged during the trial that Kocik, 38, also of Buckingham Road, Brent, helped her family in the search for her after she disappeared from home.

In a ruse to convince her friends and family she was still alive, Kocik continued to use her mobile telephone and even her Facebook account. He will be sentenced on Friday (27 November).

Detective Inspector Sarah McConnell, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "All the evidence points to an abusive relationship, during which Kocik was violent towards Marta in an attempt to control her every movement.

"After killing her, and disposing of her body in an attempt to cover up his actions, he continued to lie to her friends and family about her whereabouts and deny his involvement - something he continued right the way through his trial.

"I am pleased for Marta's family that the jury rejected his lies, and convicted him of murder today. He now faces a lengthy custodial sentence, where he will have years to consider the devastating impact of his actions," she said.

Kocik will be sentenced on Friday.