A 20-year-old man has appeared in court today charged with murdering a mother-of-two who was found strangled and 'beaten to death' in bushes.
The body of Maria Rawlings, 45, was found in shrubbery in Little Heath, Romford, by a dog walker on May 4.
Valentin Lazar, of Barking, east London, was charged with committing murder and appeared in custody at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
He wore grey prison-issued clothing and spoke only to confirm his personal details through a Romanian interpreter as he stood in the dock.
Lazar was ordered to next appear in custody at the Old Bailey on May 13, which will be his birthday.
Maria Jane Rawlings (pictured above), 45, was found dead in shrubbery in Romford, east London, on May 4. Valentin Lazar, of Barking, was charged with committing murder
Police believe Ms Rawlings was attacked after leaving the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, walking to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12 on May 3
Bandana Batra, prosecuting, said: 'This defendant is charged with murder.
'The Crown asks for the bail application hearing to take place in two days time at the Central Criminal Court on May 13.'
Magistrate chair Rosalind Reynolds told Lazar: 'You're going to be remanded in custody to appear at Central Criminal Court on May 13 at 10am.
'This will be for a plea and case management hearing at that court.'
Police believe Ms Rawlings was attacked after leaving the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, walking to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12 on May 3.
A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary found that Ms Rawlings had been strangled and suffered head injuries.
She lived in Chelmsford, Essex - 20 miles away from Little Heath.
Her devastated family have left flowers by the bush where her body was found, with a message attached to one bouquet reading: 'Mummy. I love you now, forever and always.
Flowers left at Little Heath in east London, where Ms Rawlings was found dead by a man walking his dog last Tuesday. A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary found that the mother-of-two had been strangled and suffered head injuries
Little Heath in Romford, pictured above. Lazar was ordered to next appear in custody at the Old Bailey on May 13, which will be his birthday
'In this s*** world you made things brighter. Forever my angel. Your Big Baby.'
Another note read: 'I can't believe this has happened. I love you so much, please be at rest.'
And a touching message from her grandsons read: 'Nanny, we love you soo much, we will never forget you. Your boys.'
Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said in an earlier statement: 'My thoughts remain with Maria's family at this incredibly difficult time.'