When Mehmet Hassan, a London-based poker player and professional gambler, was found dead in his home last March, friends immediately believed that he may have been the victim of a planned robbery.
Now, just over a year later, three individuals have been found guilty in Hassan’s robbery and murder.
Leonie Granger, Kyrron Jackson and Nicholas Chandler was all found guilty of charges related to the murder of Hassan last year.
Jackson and Chandler will face sentencing for murder, while Granger was found guilty of manslaughter for her role in the crime.
Jackson and Chandler were also found guilty of various charges relating to conspiracy, robbery and false imprisonment.
The 56-year-old Hassan was originally targeted by Granger, 25, after the two met in a Mayfair casino last March.
From the time of their first “date,” Hassan knew Granger as “Rachel,” and seemed to be oblivious that she might not be legitimately interested in her. He wined and dined the young woman, taking her to casinos and expensive restaurants.
But after their first date, Granger was overheard by a taxi driver telling someone that Hassan was a “flashy” professional gambler who “has never worked a day in his life.”
On the night of the murder, Hassan took Granger to Nobu, an expensive restaurant, and visited the Palm Beach Casino Club. According to reports, Hassan was a regular in cash games at Palm Beach, and was said to have won Â£3,000 ($4,450) at the poker tables that night.
After that night out on the town, the two returned to Hassan’s flat in Islington. Shortly thereafter, Granger found an excuse to leave in a taxi.
However, before she left, she ensured that Jackson (Granger’s boyfriend) and Chandler could gain access to Hassan’s home.
Upon entering, prosecutors said that Jackson and Chandler tied up Hassan in his bedroom. They proceeded to beat and kick Hassan, killing him.
They also searched his home for cash, as Hassan was known by friends to keep significant amounts of money in his flat rather than keep it in banks: according to one report, he sometimes had thousands of pounds stashed in his microwave.
Some of the most damning evidence in the case came courtesy of video found of Granger’s mobile phone. The short video clip showed the three defendants celebrating by throwing Â£50 ($74) bills around a room and stuffing money into their underpants.
While prosecutors said this video came from after the murder, the defendants said it had actually been made months earlier.
In the end, jurors found enough evidence to convict all three defendants, though not of the same crimes. While Jackson and Chandler were convicted of murder, Granger argued that she was only party to a plot to rob Hassan, and had no intention of killing him. The jury instead found her guilty of manslaughter by a 10-2 majority.
For Hassan’s family, the verdicts helped to bring an end to a difficult and tragic series of events.
“We have endured immense pain and despair from the moment that we discovered Mehmet had been brutally murdered,” said Hassan Gunay, nephew of Mehmet Hassan. “This will continue to haunt us. Although nothing will ever replace Mehmet this just verdict provides an element of closure and relief.”
The defendants will be sentenced on April 28.