A 21-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering of a pregnant prostitute.

Farooq Shah, of Station Road in Forest Gate, was convicted yesterday of killing Mariana Popa in Ilford Lane, Ilford.

Miss Popa, a mother-of-one, was stabbed to death shortly before midnight on October 28 last year.

Shah was also found guilty of carrying out a knife-point robbery in Upton Park less than an hour before committing the murder.

Police were called by London Ambulance Service to reports of a woman injured in Ilford Lane, near the junction with Loxford Lane, on the night of the murder.

Officers attended and Miss Popa was treated for a stab injury.

She was taken to hospital where she died two hours later.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died from shock, haemorrhage and stab wounds to the chest.

Miss Popa was a 24-year-old Romanian national, who had arrived in the UK just weeks before the attack.

She had a six-year-old daughter.

On the night of her death, local officers patrolling the area had spoken to her three times and issued her with a caution for soliciting.

During the investigation police found CCTV footage of the murder.

It shows Ms Popa walking along with a man on a bicycle, who took a knife from his back pocket and stabbed her twice in the chest.

He then made off towards Loxford Lane, while Ms Popa manages to make her way to a nearby shop, where she collapsed.

Through the footage, detectives were able to trace the attacker to an area around St Francis Way.

During door-to-door enquiries officers discovered a bicycle matching the description of that seen in the CCTV footage. Shah was inside the flat.

At the address, police found a bag belonging to Shah that matched one worn by the murderer in the footage and a stolen phone.

Detective Inspector Darren Richards said: "This was a cold-blooded, senseless murder by a man who went out that night, armed with a knife, intent on using it to commit serious injury to someone.

"He had already threatened and robbed a vulnerable man with a knife earlier that night, and he was hanging around the Ilford Lane area, looking for another victim.

“He killed Mariana because she was there, because he thought he could get away with it. In doing so, he has deprived a young daughter of her mother. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Mariana."

Enquiries revealed that a phone had been taken during a knife-point robbery in Harold Road, Upton Park, earlier that evening.

The victim, a man in his 50s, was partially sighted but crucially was able to describe his Shah’s distinctive thick beard.

Shah was charged with murder on November 8 and later charged with robbery in February 2014.

He will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on 27 June.