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Two guilty of 'savage' murder of chef and flatmate

Two brutal killers were facing life sentences today for the "savage" murder of an innocent chef and his flatmate.

Donald MacPherson had the "misfortune" of being at home when the men came round to kill Luciano Schiano following a falling-out over a woman.

The bloodstained body of the 60-year-old father of four was discovered by police several days after he failed to turn up for work at the Reform Club in Pall Mall, central London.

Twice-married Mr MacPherson, originally from Clydebank, Scotland, suffered 80 injuries and had his face smashed with an iron as he fought back.

Mr Schiano, 49, suffered 26 knife wounds in the "brutal" attack at the flat in West Norwood, south London, last October.

Naples-born Claudio Lamponi, 30, of Norwood, and Massimo Manai, 41, of no fixed address but originally from Cagliari, Sardinia, were found guilty of the murders at the Old Bailey.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said: "They were savagely attacked and killed in their own home.

"In all probability, Luciano Schiano was caught unawares and perhaps even watching television.

"Donald MacPherson was attacked in his bed but he fought his attackers before he was overcome."

Mr Heywood added: "Each in his turn was brutally killed - stabbed with repeated blows in the chest and the neck.

"In the case of one of the men, the need to finish him off - to silence him perhaps - was so overwhelming that when he fought for his life, not only was he stabbed but he was bludgeoned to the face with a clothes iron.

"The force with which it was swung was so great that not only were the bones of his face broken but also the iron itself was broken, bloodied, and left behind.

"Their evil work finished, the killers slunk away into the night to clean themselves, to get rid of their weapons."

Mr Heywood said the target of the violence had been Mr Schiano, who was from the Campania region near Naples, and whom the two defendants knew.

In August, Mr Schiano was headbutted by Manai after he "unwisely made a pass" at his girlfriend, jurors were told.

There had been "no love lost" since that time but neither Lamponi nor Manai knew Mr MacPherson, who was separated from his second wife and had been lodging at Schiano's flat for a few months.

"His misfortune was simply to be there," said Mr Heywood.

"When they found him there, the nature of their business was so obvious that he too had to be killed."

The next day, when Mr MacPherson failed to turn up for work at the Reform Club, the head chef tried and failed to contact him, and the sous chef tried again several days later.

They alerted his family, who also tried to get in touch and failed, and eventually the police were contacted and broke into the flat and found the bodies.