Two professional conmen murdered a wealthy businesswoman before using impersonators to fleece banks accounts for "hundreds of thousands of pounds", a court heard.
Nicholas Kutner, 48, and Rakesh Bhayani, 41, allegedly killed Carole Waugh so they could fund their gambling habits and taste for the high life.
Ms Waugh, 49, an accounts clerk in the oil industry and an escort, lived alone at a £600,000 flat in Marylebone, central London.
She was reported missing in May last year but it was not until August 2 that her body was found in a garage in New Malden, south-west London.
She had been stabbed once in the neck in her bedroom before her body was stuffed into the boot of former lover Bhayani's VW Golf where it lay for nearly four months, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Patrick Gibbs QC said: "Whoever struck the fatal blow or blows, Mr Bhayani and Mr Kutner planned it and were responsible for it.
"Having taken her life, they took all her worldly goods."
Ms Waugh is thought to have died on April 16, the last time she answered her phone.
She failed to contact her mother and brother in Durham and stopped using online dating websites.
Ms Waugh was "on the look-out for male company" when she was targeted by the men, it was said.
Bhayani and Kutner met in prison where they were doing time for a string of fraud convictions, the court heard.
Mr Gibbs said: "They were professional conmen and lifelong gamblers. They have a long history of defrauding people. They had a taste for expensive things but, above all, both were gripped by the same compulsion the compulsion to gamble."
Mr Gibbs said Bhayani owed Ms Waugh £40,000 and she had threatened to expose him to his wife if he did not repay her.
The prosecutor added: "They [his family] appeared to have been in the dark about the life he was living when he came out of prison, swanning around in a Range Rover. They thought he was in a residential centre, addressing his gambling addiction."
Mr Gibbs claimed as soon as Ms Waugh was killed "a number" of women began impersonating her on the telephone, to banks and in shops. He added: "They were usually accompanied by Mr Bhayani, stripping Carole Waugh's assets."
Her bank accounts were emptied and payments for gold bullion, worth tens of thousands of pounds, were made.
Mr Gibbs said: "By the time they were arrested, they had taken hundreds of thousands of pounds." He added Bhayani, claiming to be a heart surgeon, tried to buy from a jewellers in Bond Street, central London on the day that Ms Waugh is believed to have died a £45,000 diamond ring using counterfeit cash.
A third man, Elie Khoury, 40, is said to have helped to recruit the women.
Bhayani probably met Ms Waugh when she was working as an escort and had been "intimate with him", it was alleged.
She leant him £40,000 in February 2011, supported him in court and visited him four times in prison.
Mr Gibbs said: "She was taken in by him. She thought he was her friend but Mr Bhayani doesn't do friends.
"Once he had been released from prison, knowing how much she had and wanting it, he planned that she should die."
Kutner, of no fixed address, and Bhayani, of Wembley, north-west London, deny murder and perverting the course of justice.
They admitted conspiracy to defraud.
Khoury, of Paddington, west London, denies conspiracy to defraud.
The trial continues.