Deadly honey trap gang guilty of Mehmet Hassan killing

  • Published
Mehmet HassanImage source, Met Police
Image caption,
Father-of-three Mehmet Hassan died from neck and chest injuries

A woman who set a honey trap for a professional poker player before he was kicked to death for his winnings has been convicted of manslaughter.

Care assistant Leonie Granger, 25, deliberately targeted 56-year-old Mehmet Hassan in March last year after meeting him in a Mayfair casino.

Her boyfriend Kyrron Jackson, 28, and his friend Nicholas Chandler, 29, both from London, were found guilty of murder.

They will be sentenced on 28 April.

Judge William Kennedy warned them to expect "significant and immediate" jail sentences.

There was a disturbance in the dock when the verdicts were delivered as Chandler began lashing out and swearing and had to be forcibly removed by six security officers.

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Granger, Jackson and Chandler are set to be sentenced on 28 April at the Old Bailey

Mr Hassan was bound with parcel tape and a neck tie and then kicked and stamped to death in his bedroom, the trial at Old Bailey had heard.

The attackers, who then ransacked his home looking for cash, were let in by Granger, who Mr Hassan had first met at a Mayfair casino the month before.

Afterwards, while he lay dead in a pool of blood, all three defendants were filmed on Granger's mobile phone throwing £50 notes around and stuffing wads in underpants, the jury was told.

Media caption,

The group were filmed throwing £50 notes around and stuffing cash in their underpants

The defendants said the video had been made four months earlier.

Mr Hassan was described as a professional gambler who had won as much as £15,000 at a time.

'Ruthless greed'

The court heard he was oblivious to the sting as he dated the woman he knew as Rachel.

The fact the divorced father-of-three "enjoyed the company of women" made him particularly "vulnerable to the unscrupulous", prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC had told jurors.

On the night of the murder, Mr Hassan had taken Granger to the Mayfair restaurant Nobu before going on to the Palm Beach Casino where he gave her £1,000 in cash to gamble with.

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
The court heard Mr Hassan believed he was in a genuine relationship with Leonie-Marie Granger

Later, he took her back to his Islington flat where she made her excuses and left in a taxi - but not before letting in Jackson and Chandler.

Scotland Yard said the taxi driver noted she was on the phone continuously saying phrases such as "don't tell me the money's not there - I saw it".

Police were contacted on 24 March following concerns for Mr Hassan's welfare as he had not made contact with his family and officers forced entry to the address and found him in the bedroom with his legs bound.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died of neck and chest injuries.

Mr Aylett said Mr Hassan's death was the "culmination of the ruthless greed" of Jackson and Chandler who had been involved in two armed robberies at the same casino in South Kensington in January and February last year but with limited success.

Media caption,

The verdicts were welcomed by police and the victim's nephew, Hassan Gunay

In each case, guns were used and the victims were tied up and subjected to violence.

The jury was shown CCTV film of the raids as well as clips of Granger and Mr Hassan together in the casino hours before the killing.

Det Ch Insp Andy Partridge said: "It appears from the comments made by Granger, and overheard by the taxi driver on the night of the murder, that the gang were intent on finding that cash, whatever the cost.

"His death was senseless, motivated by the greed of three people who exploited his generosity in the most callous manner imaginable."

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Mehmet Hassan and Leonie Granger were pictured smiling as they signed into the casino

Hassan Gunay, the nephew of Mehmet Hassan, said: "We have endured immense pain and despair from the moment that we discovered Mehmet had been brutally murdered. This will continue to haunt us.

"Although nothing will ever replace Mehmet this just verdict provides an element of closure and relief."

In her defence, Granger from Gillingham, Kent, admitted she had been involved in a plan to rob Mr Hassan, but denied being party to the murder.

Jackson, of Romborough Way, Lewisham, south-east London, and Chandler, of Lee High Road, south-east London, were also convicted of robbing Mr Hassan, two counts of plotting to rob employees of Grosvenor Casinos, two counts of conspiracy to have a shotgun and imitation firearm in January last year, and two counts of conspiracy to falsely imprison.

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