Emmanuel Odunlami (pictured), was stabbed to death in central London on May 1 2022 (Picture: PA)
A man has been jailed for at least 31 years for the murder of a music manager in a fake designer watch robbery.
Jordell Menzies, 28, stabbed Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, who was set up by a member of security at an exclusive £1,400-a-table event to celebrate the victim’s birthday in London on May 1 2022.
Security guard Kavindu Hettiarachchi spotted Mr Odunlami wearing a fake Patek Philippe Nautilus watch with diamond encrusting which, if real, would be worth around £125,000, the Old Bailey heard.
Hettiarachchi, 31, tipped off a team of robbers who attacked Mr Odunlami after he left Haz restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral.
Hettiarachchi was caught on camera filming his target before summoning Louis Vandrose, 28, in a phone call.
Menzies, Quincy Ffrench, 28, and Vandrose ran at him before Menzies stabbed Mr Odunlami in the heart then the team of robbers fled in a Mercedes car with the watch.
Ffrench bent down and took Mr Odunlami’s watch and was heard on CCTV saying ‘got it’, during the attack.
Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC told jurors the wristwatch worn by the victim would, if genuine, have been worth around £125,000.
Menzies was found guilty of murder and robbery and sentenced to at least 31 years in jail (Picture: City of London Police/SWNS)
Vandrose was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in jail (Picture: City of London Police/SWNS)
Ffrench was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in jail (Picture: City of London Police/SWNS)
Hettiarachchi was convicted of manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 13 years in prison (Picture: City of London Police/SWNS)
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He said: ‘The grim and tragic irony of all this is that there is a good reason to think that the Patek Philippe watch wasn’t even genuine.
‘The defendant – although of course he wasn’t to know that at the time – had killed Emmanuel Odunlami for a fake watch.’
The watch has never been recovered.
Mr Odunlami’s fiance Rajbir Kaur said in a victim impact statement he was ‘absolutely adored, loved and respected’ by his two young children.
She added: ‘My happiness was seeing Emmanuel and our children together. I will never in this life experience that again.
‘Emmanuel was murdered before he got to see his son in school uniform.
‘He lost his life over something he had a passion for. People should be allowed to wear freely what they earn with hard work.
She said of the defendants: ‘They’re not sorry, they’re just sorry they were caught.
‘What sickens most of us is the lack of remorse from the said security guard – whose primary responsibility to society is to protect members of the public.’
Mr Odunlami’s mum Christiana Odunlami said: ‘I feel that what happened is still punishing our family. I’m still carrying the pain and have lost my purpose in life.
‘My heart aches for him every day. I feel that my body is dead, just my heart is ticking.
‘The effect of coming to court every day and seeing my son’s killers has left a permanent scar on me.
‘Losing a child is permanent damage, and this has dealt me a lifetime blow.
‘My son will never come back but justice must be served, not only on his behalf, but also for his family, children and for all those who have lost a loved one at the hands of knife crime.’
Addressing the defendants in court, she added: ‘All I could see in your eyes was emptiness and no remorse.’
Judge Patrick Field KC told Menzies in his sentencing remarks: ‘It was a carefully planned and sophisticated offence in which you played a major part.’
He said Menzies led the assault on Mr Odunlami, ‘sprinting towards him knife in hand, stabbing him in the heart as he backed away’.
Menzies was found guilty of murder and robbery in December and Vandrose and Ffrench were found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter, as well as robbery.
Vandrose and Ffrench were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Hettiarachchi was convicted of manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
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