Turkish Worker in Israel Gets Life in Prison for Gruesome Murder, Dismemberment

Aydan Demirhan had claimed self-defense in killing Ilona Denise with a hammer, carving up her body and putting remains in Tel Aviv garbage bins.

Turkish national Aydan Demirhan at Tel Aviv District Court where he was sentenced to life in prison for the gruesome murder of his Romanian partner Ilona Denise. August 8, 2013.
Moti Milrod

A Turkish national who had been working in Israel was sentenced to life imprisonment Sunday for the 2013 murder of his Romanian partner, in which he carved up her body, put the parts in bags and satchels and left them in Tel Aviv garbage bins.

Tel Aviv District Court judges convicted Aydan Demirhan, in his 50s, in December, rejecting his claim that he had acted in self defense in the dismemberment of Ilona Denise, also a foreign worker.

The court determined that in addition to life imprisonment he would pay Denise’s daughter 260,000 shekels ($66,000), the maximum allowed by law.

According to the court ruling, Demirhan and Denise were returning from an evening out at a club in August 2013 when they began arguing over money. During the argument Demirhan attacked Denise with a hammer and killed her. He sat smoking cigarettes by her body for an hour before chopping it up and putting the parts in bags and satchels and parceling them out in adjacent garbage bins in south Tel Aviv.

Police learned of the murder when a Tel Aviv resident found the victim’s torso in a suitcase in a bin. Other body parts were found in adjacent bins, but the victim’s head was never recovered.

Denise had arrived in Israel a few years before to work as a nursing aide, living in Haifa before moving to Tel Aviv. Investigators turned to Interpol and with its help managed to contact Denise’s daughter in Romania. She told them that her mother had been involved in a romantic relationship with a Turkish construction worker in Israel.

After the murder, Demirhan hid for a few days in Kafr Qasem, then was arrested on his way to Ramat Gan to pick up his passport and plane ticket back to Turkey from his employer.

“Obviously there is no adequate compensation for the loss of a life and the maximum stipulated in the law is insufficient to convey the harsh and tragic implications of the loss of a family member,” wrote judges Miriam Diskin, Ra’anan Ben-Yosef and Zion Kafah in their sentencing.

“In ruling in favor of maximal compensation we emphasize the accused man’s responsibility towards the victim’s children and his obligation to repay them, even if only as a token, for the suffering, sorrow and agony caused them through his criminal actions. These harsh consequences will be with them for their entire lives.”