A sadistic construction worker murdered a popular Israeli woman with a Stanley knife before mutilating her body, a court heard.

Nicolae Patraucean, 21, strangled Rivka Holden, 55, and slit her throat then dismembering her body with a two-and-a-half inch Stanley knife blade, the Old Bailey was told.

Ms Holden suffered horrific wounds in the attack at her home, in Falcon Way, Colindale, including slashes to her hands and face.

In court last Friday, prosecutor Timothy Cray described the attack as 'sadistic' and said large amounts of cash found in the flat show that Patraucean was not motivated by money.

"We would say it's particularly serious on the grounds of sadism," he added.

Judge Timothy Pontius adjourned the sentencing until October for pathology reports to be carried out on exactly how Ms Holden was killed.

He said: "I cannot pass sentence today, I need to consider in some detail the relevant evidence before considering what the appropriate sentence will be.

"There is quite a lot of evidence, not least from expert pathologists."

Ms Holden, who worked as a prostitute, was found dead on March 16 this year at her home and police also discovered her red Hyundai was missing.

Patraucean had been drinking heavily in the 24 hours before the killing and had also taken cannabis, cocaine and heroin, it is said.

He claims to have no memory of the brutal murder but previously pleaded guilty to the charge.

David Spens, defending, insisted Patraucean did not suffer from any mental illness.

He said: "Apart from some self-harm, there is nothing else that we are aware of and indeed the family members who know him well do not speak of any mental illness as such"

"The problem appears to be one that involves the excessive intake of drink and drugs."

Speaking after her death, Julian Mann, of the local Kingsbury Synagogue, said: "She was very warm and would sometimes drop into us for a chat and something to eat.

"My wife and I enjoyed talking to her.

"She also chatted in Hebrew with my son, who is a Rabbi, and asked which Rabbis she could go to for a blessing for her health.

"She had already had an operation on her foot and her walking was limited."

Patraucean, of Chichester Court, Stanmore, admitted murder. He will be sentenced on 24 October.