Hyde Park killer Hani Khalaf convicted of murder
A man has been found guilty of murdering a 62-year-old carer in London's Hyde Park exactly a year after committing the crime.
Hani Khalaf kicked, punched and stamped Jairo Medina to death near Speakers' Corner on 11 August 2016 and robbed him of cash and a mobile phone.
At the time Khalaf, 22, was on bail after being arrested for shoplifting.
An Old Bailey jury took two days to find the Egyptian national, an illegal immigrant of no fixed address, guilty.
Khalaf had arrived in Kent in the back of a lorry in August 2014 and was liable for deportation, the court heard.
The day before he met Mr Medina, Khalaf was arrested for shoplifting at a Superdry clothes shop in Regent Street and gave police a false name he had previously given to immigration officers.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court and was bailed hours before the committing the murder.
Mr Medina's bruised and broken body was discovered early on 12 August by a groundsman in Hyde Park on his way to work.
Jurors heard Khalaf met Mr Medina, from Chelsea, in the park, where he had gone hoping to have sex with a younger man.
Giving evidence through an Egyptian translator, Khalaf told jurors he slept rough in the park after losing his way in the immigration system, having falsely claimed asylum as a Syrian refugee.
He said he met Mr Medina on a park bench, but at the time of the killing was buying pain aux raisin pastries at Zam Zam convenience store.
When he returned, he claimed to have found the bloodied body of the victim and taken his mobile phone, intending to raise the alarm.
He was arrested on 16 August for ticket fare evasion and told police his name was Hanni Hassan before admitting his real name, the court heard.
On 18 August, he was arrested again for shoplifting and taken to Charing Cross police station, where he was also detained over Mr Medina's murder and later charged.
Mr Medina was originally from Colombia and was a single gay man with a preference for young dark-skinned men, the court heard.
He was described by his former partner as "a carefree and very generous person" who would go to Quebec gay bar in Marble Arch and would sometimes pay male prostitutes for sex.