BY TIMOTHY AGBOR
A Nigerian-born music manager, identified as Emmanuel Odunlami, has been attacked and stabbed to death in the United Kingdom during an alleged robbery.
Three suspected robbers were said to have attacked the young entrepreneur after celebrating his 32nd birthday at Haz restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 1, 2022.
Sources said his attackers had wanted to steal what is believed to be a fake designer watch worth up to £300,000, before they stabbed him to death in the process.
When the matter was brought to the Old Bailey, which is the central criminal court of England and Wales, it heard that Odunlami was ambushed by three robbers after holding a party to celebrate his birthday.
Odunlami’s attackers were said to have been tipped off by Kavindu Hettiarachchi, a security operator, that he was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch.
During the court session, Duncan Atkinson KC, the prosecutor, said it is believed that the watch “may have not been genuine.”
He added that the robbers, however, treated the item as though it was genuine.
According to the prosecutor, “sadly, as it was to turn out, he liked expensive brand watches. At the time when he was fatally attacked, he was wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch.
“If real, such a watch could be worth anything in a range from £90,000 to £300,000.
“It is believed the deceased’s watch may not have been genuine, but was treated as genuine by those who sought to take it.”
Atkinson said Hettiarachchi was “an integral member of the security team” and was hired by the events organiser for the private ticketed brunch and afterparty with DJ.
“It was part of his role to protect the safety of those, like Mr Odunlami, who was attending the event. In fact, he did the opposite,” he said.
Old Bailey heard that after the event, Hettiarachchi was seen on camera calling Louis Vandross, who is believed to be one of the robbers.
The jurors were told that Vandrose and Jordell Menzies were then driven by Quincy Ffrench in a white Mercedes with altered number plates from north-west London.
“The evidence shows that Ffrench, Vandrose and Menzies were setting off in car with a disguised registration in order to carry out a robbery and that their target for that robbery was at the Haz restaurant where Hettiarachchi was working, and to which by phone he had summoned them,” the prosecutor said.
The security operator was said to have filmed the victim and his “high-value” watch and then appeared to type something into his phone.
“The prosecution case is that he was making those other defendants aware of Mr Odunlami and his watch, in order that they could rob him of that apparently very valuable item,” Atkinson said.