Gang who stabbed music industry boss, 32, to death face jail

Gang of muggers who stabbed music industry boss, 32, to death for ‘£125,000’ Patek Philippe watch that was probably a fake face jail

  • Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, was killed while out celebrating his birthday in London

A gang of muggers who stabbed a music industry boss to death for a ‘£125,000’ Patek Philippe watch, that was probably a fake, are facing jail.

Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, was killed while out celebrating his birthday at an event at Haz restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London in the early hours of 2 May 2022.

Security guard Kavindu Hettarachchi, 30, was working at the event and spotted that Mr Odunlami was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch which, if real, can be worth up to £300,000, and filmed him wearing it.

Hettarachchi then tipped off associates Jordell Menzies, 27, Quincy Ffrench and Louis Vandrose, both 28, by sending photos, who drove over armed with knives to rob him outside the eatery.

Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC told jurors: ‘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.

Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, was killed while out celebrating his birthday for a ‘£125,000’ Patek Philippe watch, that was probably a fake

‘The defendant – although of course he wasn’t to know that at the time – had killed Emmanuel Odunlami for a fake watch.’

Mr Odunlami, who worked in the music industry managing artists, tried to run away but Menzies caught up and stabbed him in the heart with a flick knife.

Antonios Kfoury, 22, who was also working as a security guard, tried to cover up his friends’ crimes by lying to police.

Menzies admitted robbery and manslaughter and had described the victim as an ‘easy’ civilian target for a robbery.

He admitted arming himself with the flick-knife but said he did not intend to use it.

Menzies denied but was convicted of murder by an Old Bailey jury today after a retrial.

Mr Odunlami’s mother collapsed in tears and said: ‘Thank you god. I got justice for my son, thank you, thank you.’

Ffrench and Vandrose had both admitted robbery. They denied the charges and were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter at the first trial earlier this year.

Hettarachchi had admitted theft. He denied but was convicted of manslaughter and robbery.

Killer Jordell Menzies, 27, was convicted of murder by an Old Bailey jury today after a retrial

Patek Philippe Nautilus watch which, if real, can be worth up to £300,000

Kfoury denied and was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Judge Patrick Field, KC, will set a date for sentencing on Thursday.

Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, birthday event organised by an events company called Playhxuse, which set up an exclusive table costing £1,400 in the City of London, where he had been celebrating with friends.

Hettiarachichi, had been hired by Playhxuse for the private ticketed brunch and afterparty with a DJ.

On the day of  Mr Odunlami’s death, he had driven to the City in his grey hatchback Mercedes and, as well as the possibly  fake designer watch, he was wearing a Dior jacket and carried a Goyard bag while others sported Rolex watches, jurors were told.

As the party drew to a close at around 11pm, Hettiarachichi was caught on camera filming his target outside Haz bar and summoning Vandrose in a phone call.

Antonios Kfoury, 22, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey

Quincy Ffrench, 27, was found guilty of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice

Security guard Kavindu Hettiarachichi, 30, was found guilty of robbery and manslaughter

After Mr Odunlami left the restaurant on Foster Lane at 11.15pm with friend David Manuel to walk to his car in Gresham Street, Ffrench, Menzies and Vandrose jumped from a Mercedes which had been circling the area.

Mr Odunlami was on the ground and all three defendants kicked him as he lay defenceless, jurors heard.

During the attack, Ffrench, bent down and took Mr Odunlami’s watch and was heard to say ‘got it’.

The defendants then ran off, leaving the victim with a fatal stab wound to the chest.

The flick knife used to kill Mr Odunlami was found near the scene of the attack and bore traces of Menzies’ DNA. 

Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, birthday event organised by an events company called Playhxuse, which set up an exclusive table costing £1,400 in the City of London

Emmanuel Odunlami was celebrating his birthday at the exclusive event at Haz restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London

Afterwards, the killers travelled to Bloomsbury where they changed their clothes before parting company.

After the killing, his colleague Kfoury tried to obscure his role in the security arrangement for the event at Haz and made a false statement to the police.

Fake versions of high value watches, including a bronze Rolex watch and a Royal Oak, were found at Hettiarachchi’s address, jurors heard.

Prosecutor Joel Smith said: ‘Photographs of high-value watches were also recovered from his mobile telephone.

‘Such material demonstrates the defendant’s detailed interest in and knowledge of fake and genuine high value watches.’

The prosecutor told jurors: ‘On 1st May 2022 a young man named Emmanuel Odunlami attended a smart party in a restaurant just around the corner from this building – the restaurant is called Haz, just 500 metres from here.

READ MORE:  Music boss stabbed to death for fake £300,000 Patek Philippe watch told friend ‘I’m gone’ as he collapsed to pavement, court hears

‘It was a smart party, people had paid quite a lot of money to be there, and some of them were dressed accordingly.

‘Mr Odunlami, for instance, was wearing a Patel Philippe Nautilus watch.

‘I don’t know if that means anything to you- but for those in the know, a Patek Philippe Nautilus is really quite something.

‘If real it would cost about £125,000. And that night it cost Emmanuel Odunlami his life.

‘Because whilst he was at that party he was spotted by one of the security staff working at Haz.

‘That man took a photo of him wearing that watch, and sent it to his mates, whose job it was to rob the target of his watch.

‘A team of robbers drove down to the restaurant in a white Mercedes.

‘The defendant, Jordell Menzies, was one of that team of robbers. He had armed himself with a knife.

‘He was the first of the robbers to reach Mr Odunlami, and when he reached him, he stabbed him in the chest.

‘The knife penetrated his victim’s heart.

‘That stab wound had the desired effect. Mr Odunlami fell to the floor. Mr Menzies and his accomplices were able to snatch the watch of his wrist and make their escape- but not before Mr Menzies had given him a kick on the floor for good measure.

As the event drew to a close at around 11pm, Hettiarachchi was caught on camera filming outside the venue and calling Louis Vandrose, the Old Bailey (pictured) was told

‘Having got what they came for, they ran back to the car, and got away, leaving Mr Odunlami to die on the street’.

Mr Odunlami’s friend Daniel Manuel, who knew him as ‘Jay’, told the court: ‘I knew Jay had an expensive Patek Philippe watch, I don’t know the value of the watch but he was wearing it all night.

‘I went to Jay, He stood up, I saw blood all over his chest and frantically touched him to see where it was coming from.

‘He said: ‘I’m gone’ and collapsed.

‘I put the puffer coat over the wound and called for an ambulance, two males in black came over to help.

‘I now understand that they were police officers.’

Mr Odunlami was gasping for air before he stopped breathing.

CPR was undertaken by police officers, including an oxygen mask being placed on his face and chest compressions.

READ MORE:  Robber accused of murdering music boss over ‘£125,000 Patek Philippe’ watch which turned out to be fake was tipped off by a security guard at posh restaurant party, court told

London Ambulance Service arrived and Mr Odunlami was taken by ambulance to Royal London Hospital.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on 2 May.

Giving evidence Menzies claimed he took the flick-knife to the robbery to ‘scare’ the victim.

‘It’s three-on-one so you don’t really need a knife. Based on the information we thought this person was going to freeze.

‘I knew it was an expensive watch, but I didn’t know how expensive it was.

‘If someone has money then they are more likely to give it over, rather than someone who has worked hard for their money.’

He said he was initially uncertain if blood on his clothes belonged to him or another after Mr Odunlami was stabbed.

‘That’s when I said to Vandrose and Ffrench I thought I might have caught him and that’s when they said ‘what the f*** do you mean?’

‘I was surprised, innit. I thought it was me at first for a second. I was panicking. Ffrench was panicking.

‘About 30 seconds or a minute after that, there’s a police car behind us and we’re panicking more because we think they are coming for us.

Ffrench admitted he was someone who ‘got into a lot of trouble’ and sold ‘county lines drugs’ in Scotland as a teenager.

He insisted he did not intend for the victim to be stabbed and said: ‘Couple of minutes into driving he [Menzies] started moaning saying: ‘I think I might have poked him, I think I might have poked him’.

‘Vandrose has turned around saying: ‘What do you mean? what are you talking about?’

‘I’m thinking bruv why the f-k have you got a knife in my car?’

Ffrench, of Tottenham, Vandrose, of Islington, and Menzies, of High Wycombe, each admitted robbing Mr Odunlami of his wrist watch but denied his murder.

Menzies admitted manslaughter and robbery but denied murder.

Ffrench, Vandrose and Hettiarachchi denied and were convicted of manslaughter.

Kfoury, of Ealing, west London, denied and was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Following Menzies’ conviction, Judge Patrick Field KC remanded him in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

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