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
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'