A tale of brutality too vile for lover to bear

Having moved to Britain just a month before their deaths, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez were described as "two young men who had the misfortune to cross the paths of Farmer and Sonnex".

That misfortune began six days before their deaths when, rushing from the shower on the morning of Tuesday 23 June 2008, Laurent Bonomo saw a man fleeing his flat, in Sterling Gardens, New Cross. A laptop was stolen.

Although it has never been proven, it is almost certain that that man was Dano Sonnex, given that he had complained to friends about having a laptop that reverted to French. It follows that the next weekend, when looking for a house to burgle, Sonnex decided to revist familiar territory.

What came next was a "relentless and merciless onslaught" in which Mr Ferez was stabbed 50 times and Mr Bonomo, who "would not die", stabbed 194 times.

Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, both 23, met while studying biochemistry at university in France. In the summer of 2008 they enrolled on a three-month course at Imperial College in London. Mr Bonomo was later joined by his girlfriend, Marie Bertez, but she left London on 21 June, intending to return nine days later.

The day before their death Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez had gone to the tennis at Wimbledon, then to a pub to watch a French rugby match. They were captured on CCTV at Victoria, South Kensington and, later, at Canada Water stations. The last footage of them was at 9.43pm, where they were seen leaving a McDonald's restaurant in Surrey Quays shopping centre. The last anyone heard from them was Mr Bonomo's final text message to Ms Bertez when he told her that he and Mr Ferez were playing computer games on their handheld Sony PSP systems.

Five hours later, in the early morning of Sunday 29 June, the sleeping men were disturbed by Sonnex and Farmer. They were tied up and tortured for their bank cards and PINs. The students suffered appalling injuries. Mr Ferez's 50 wounds were to his eyes, head, neck and chest. Mr Bonomo was stabbed in the head, face, neck, back, chest, stomach, arms, hands and legs. The gruesome details were too much for Ms Bertez. Twice during the four-week trial she fled the courtroom in tears.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect