A music manager was stabbed to death for a designer watch worth up to £300,000 after celebrating his birthday, a court has heard.
Emmanuel Odunlami, 32, was attacked by three robbers after leaving Haz restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London on May 1, last year, the Old Bailey heard.
They had allegedly been tipped off by security operator, Kavindu Hettiarachchi, that Mr Odunlami was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch which, if real, was worth between £90,000 and £300,000.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC said Hettiarachchi was ‘an integral member of the security team’ who had been hired by the event’s organiser, Playhxuse, for the private ticketed brunch and afterparty with DJ.
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He told jurors: “It was part of his role to protect the safety of those, like Mr Odunlami, who were attending the event. In fact, he did the opposite.”
Jurors were told the victim, known to friends as Jay, worked in the music industry managing a number of performing artists.
On the day of his death, he had driven to the city in his grey hatchback Mercedes to celebrate his birthday with friends, having organised tickets for a £1,400 table.
Mr Atkinson told jurors, “Sadly, as it was to turn out, he liked expensive brand watches. At the time when he was fatally attacked, he was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch.
“If real, such a watch could be worth anything in a range from £90,000 to £300,000. It is believed the deceased’s watch may not have been genuine, but was treated as genuine by those who sought to take it.”
As the event drew to a close at around 11 pm, Hettiarachchi was caught on camera filming outside the venue and calling Louis Vandrose, the court was told, Dailymail reports.
Vandrose and Jordell Menzies were then driven by Quincy Ffrench in a white Mercedes with altered number plates from north-west London, the court heard.
Mr Atkinson said: “The evidence shows that Ffrench, Vandrose and Menzies were setting off in a car with a disguised registration in order to carry out a robbery and that their target for that robbery was at the Haz restaurant where Hettiarachchi was working, and to which by phone he had summoned them.’
Jurors were told the security operator had filmed the victim and his ‘high-value’ watch and then appeared to type something into his phone.
Mr Atkinson said: “The prosecution case is that he was making those other defendants aware of Mr Odunlami and his watch, in order that they could rob him of that apparently very valuable item.
“In common sense, those planning the robbery of Mr Odunlami of what appeared to be a very valuable watch would not have expected him just to surrender.
“Rather, he needed to be compelled to do so, and to that end one of those travelling in Mr Ffench’s Mercedes was armed with a knife.”