`SAS' fantasy killers jailed

Two A-level students who murdered a stranger in a fantasy SAS initiation test were jailed for life at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Jamie Petrolini, a former Gordonstoun pupil, who had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, was found guilty by a majority of 10-2 of murdering Mohammed el-Sayed, 44. The verdict was unanimous against Richard Elsey, who held the Egyptian father-of-two while Petrolini slashed his neck and stabbed him in the chest 14 times.

Afterwards, Detective Inspector Jeremy Alford, who took part in the investigation, said police might never have found Mr el-Sayed's killers had Peterolini not confessed. ``We probably would not have got to them if Petrolini had not talked about it to others.''

The killers, both 19, who selected their victim at random, remained expressionless as the jury returned its verdict after five hours. The men's parents broke down in the public gallery while Mr el-Sayed's widow, Susan, shouted ``yes'' and wept as the three-week trial ended.

Elsey, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and Petrolini, from Grantown-on-Spey, who shared an obsession with the Parachute Regiment and the SAS, murdered Mr el-Sayed on 14 January this year. The murder, which coincided with Petrolini's 19th birthday, was part of an elaborate fantasy developed by the teenagers who met last October while resitting A-levels at an Oxford crammer. Elsey had told Petrolini he was a second lieutenant in the Parachute Regiment and a member of the SAS. The murder was supposed to mark Petrolini's initiation into the elite force.

In court, Petrolini said he and Elsey leaned against a Give Way sign in Bayswater, west London, waiting for a single, male motorist when their original plan to find and murder a pimp or drug pusher at King's Cross failed.

Petrolini said Mr el-Sayed, returning home after visiting a nearby casino, was the 10th motorist to arrive at the junction on Bishop's Bridge Road. As his car slowed, Petrolini jumped into the front seat, brandishing a commando knife and opened the rear door for his accomplice.

Petrolini ordered Mr el-Sayed to drive a little way down the road. When the car stopped, he attacked Mr el-Sayed. The two then searched the body before returning by bus to Oxford. On the way home Petrolini opened his birthday cards and Elsey fell asleep.

Yesterday, Judge Neil Denison told them: ``You created a world in which you were both playing out your fantasies. It started with relatively harmless pranks and progressed to criminal offences and it developed into an obsession with killing and death. That led to the brutal and senseless slaughter of a complete stranger.''

Petrolini was arrested a month after the murder when he confessed to his college principal. When he saw his parents, he said: ``I did it for King and Country''. Elsey denied being in the car when the stabbing took place.

Mrs el-Sayed, 39, said she would have liked to have seen the two men hanged, but she was ``thrilled'' with the result: ``I'll never forgive them. I think they are evil. They should never be freed.''

Insp Alford said: ``It's a bizarre case. I've never come across anything like it before and nor have my colleagues. I feel very angry for the victims in this case.''

Bizarre pact, page 3

(Photograph omitted)

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn