Robbers posing as postmen killed financier, court told

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The Independent Online

A wealthy financier was stabbed to death and his wife severely injured by two robbers who bluffed their way into the couple's Chelsea home, an Old Bailey jury was told. But the reward for the robbers who killed John Monckton and almost murdered his wife, Homeyra, was small - a pair of costume jewellery earrings, two rings, a watch and a purse - the court heard yesterday.

Richard Horwell, for the prosecution, said the two men forced their way into the home of the Moncktons, in Upper Cheyne Walk, after one pretended to be a postman.

Damien Hanson, 24, of no fixed address, and Elliot White, 24, from west London, deny murdering Mr Monckton, 49, a senior bonds director with Legal and General, on 29 November last year. They also deny the attempted murder of Mrs Monckton, 46.

Mr Hanson denies robbery but the court heard that Mr White had pleaded guilty to robbery, because traces of his blood at the scene had created "overwhelming evidence" of his guilt.

Mr White told police he wore a Royal Mail jacket when he knocked on the door of the Monckton's home at about 7.30pm. He said he had a parcel to deliver; the second man, alleged to be Mr Hanson, was hiding.

Mr Monckton opened the door, with the chain still on. He released the chain, then realising his "terrible mistake" tried to close the door, but Mr White and Mr Hanson forced their way in, Mr Horwell said.

Mr Hanson, wearing a balaclava and armed with a knife and a firearm, hit Mrs Monckton and stabbed her twice in the back as she tried to reach the panic alarm button, it was alleged. "Once she had taken off her rings he demanded her earrings, watch and money. He stole the jewellery she had been wearing and also took her purse," Mr Horwell said.

He said Mr Monckton fought Mr White near the front door, he said. There was no evidence Mr White was armed but Mr Monckton had held on to his wrists, "as if there was something in White's hands that had caused him alarm". Mr Monckton sustained stab wounds while Mr White was also wounded in the attack.

Mr Horwell added: "They left behind Mr Monckton with multiple stab wounds to the chest. He was dead or effectively dead by the time the emergency services arrived. They left behind Mrs Monckton with two stab wounds to her back. She would have died but for the emergency medical attention that she received. A dreadful cost for such a small reward."

The couple's daughter, Isobel, nine, who had witnessed part of the attack from upstairs, rang 999 on the instructions of her injured mother.

The trial continues.