A woman has been found guilty of setting a honey trap for a professional gambler who was kicked to death.
Care assistant Leonie Granger, 25, deliberately targeted 56-year-old Mehmet Hassan in March last year after meeting him in a Mayfair casino.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, she was found guilty of Mr Hassan’s manslaughter but not guilty of murder. Her co-defendants Kyrron Jackson, 28, and Nicholas Chandler, 29, were convicted of murder.
Granger began to cry in the dock after the guilty verdicts were delivered while Chandler lashed out angrily, shouting and swearing, and had to be grappled to the floor and removed by six dock officers. Judge William Kennedy told the remaining pair they faced “significant and immediate” jail when they are all sentenced on 28 April.
The court heard how Mr Hassan was oblivious to the sting as he wined and dined the woman he knew as Rachel, even bragging to his friends that he was not paying her to be with him. After their first date, Granger, from Kent, was overheard by a taxi driver saying that Hassan was “flashy” and saying: “This guy is a professional gambler. He has never worked a day in his life.”
On the night of the murder, Mr Hassan had taken Granger to the top Mayfair restaurant Nobu before going on to the Palm Beach Casino nearby, where he gave her £1,000 in cash to gamble with. Later, he took her back to his Islington flat where she made her excuses and left in a taxi – but not before letting in her boyfriend Jackson and his friend Chandler. Using parcel tape, the two men tied up Mr Hassan in his bedroom then kicked him to death and ransacked his home as they searched for cash.
While Mr Hassan’s beaten and bloody body lay undiscovered, the killers were filmed on Granger’s mobile phone throwing wads of £50 notes around. Granger’s “soft target” was known to have two favourite casinos in Mayfair – the Playboy Casino on Old Park Lane and the Palm Beach Casino in Berkeley Street.
He sometimes won as much as £15,000 at a time and rather than using bank accounts, he would keep his winnings around his flat, even keeping thousands of pounds in his microwave.
The fact the divorced father-of-three “enjoyed the company of women” made him particularly “vulnerable to the unscrupulous”, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors.
He said Mr Hassan’s death was the “culmination of the ruthless greed” of Jackson and Chandler, who had been involved in two armed robberies at a casino in South Kensington in January and February last year. In each case, guns were used and the victims were tied up and beaten.
After the case was adjourned for sentence, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Partridge said: “People who knew Mehmet Hassan – his family, friends and associates – described him as a likeable and generous man. His death was senseless, motivated by the greed of three people who exploited his generosity in the most callous manner imaginable.”