Man jailed for New York murder of Dubai real estate exec

Former housekeeper gets minimum of 23 years for killing Andree Bejjani in luxury Jumeirah hotel
Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 18 Jun 2011 01:10 PM

A former hotel housekeeper has been sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison for the sexual assault and murder of a Dubai-based real estate investment executive.

Derrick Praileau was handed his sentence in Manhattan Supreme Court for the 2009 slaying of the Andree Bejjani, known as Sara.

The murder was carried out while Lebanese-born Bejjani stayed at the luxury Jumeirah Essex House Hotel close to New York's Central Park.

Praileau pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder and attempted rape charges, but, under a plea deal, he was given a sentence that was just three years more than the minimum.

According to media reports in the US, the judge said the plea deal was a necessary evil in an "imperfect" system of justice to ensure a conviction.

Andree Bejjani, who was president of a Dubai-based real estate investment firm, was staying in a 10th-floor condo at the hotel, where her body was found.

The victim's sister, Nada Bejjani, said in comments published by US newspapers that she and her seven-year-old daughter delayed their flight from Dubai to New York for a day - during which time her sister was stabbed to death in bed in her hotel room.

"I now bear the guilt of having made this detrimental change," she reportedly told Justice Carol Berkman.

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