The Mehmet Hassan murder trial commenced in London this week, as two men and one woman appeared in court accused of luring the poker player into a deadly honey trap before robbing him of his poker winnings.
Hassan, a popular figure on the London cash game scene, was found by police bound with parcel tape at his apartment in Islington, North London on March 24 last year.
He had been beaten to death, a post mortem determining he had died from injuries to his chest and neck. Leonie Granger, 25, her boyfriend, Kyrron Jackson, and Nicholas Chandler, both 28,Â are charged with his murder.
The court heard that Granger had met the 56-year-old divorced father of three for a drink before going on to the Palm Beach Casino in London’s affluent Mayfair district, where they were seen kissing. They then left for Hassan’s flat.
Around half an hour later Hassan booked a taxi which took Granger to an address in South East London. During the journey the cab driver overheard Granger apparently directing someone to the whereabouts of Hassan’s cash, suggesting she had already let Hassan’s murderers inside the apartment.
“The truth, sadly, is that Miss Granger was not interested in Mehmet Hassan for anything other than his money,” said Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting. “And that is how Mehmet Hassan came to be tied up and kicked to death in his own flat.”
Hassan “enjoyed the company of women,” said Aylet, which made him “vulnerable to the unscrupulous.” His death was the “culmination of the ruthless greed” of Jackson and Chandler, he added, who also had been involved in two armed robberies at the Palm Beach earlier in the year.
The court heard that while Hassan’s body lay undetected in his apartment, the trio filmed themselves laughing and simulating sex with Hassan’s money as they put $50 bills into their underwear.
Granger has been charged with murder and false imprisonment, while Jackson and Chandler are accused of murder and robbery, along with two counts of plotting to rob casino employees, two counts of conspiracy to have a shotgun and imitation firearm, and two counts of conspiracy to falsely imprison. All three deny the charges against them.
The murder sent shockwaves around the London poker community last year. Following his death, fellow Palm Beach regular Paul Bracken posted a tribute on Facebook. “For those of you who knew our friend, Mehmet Hassan, who was sadly taken from us earlier this week,” he said, “you’ll know how much of a generous caring family man he was.
“For those of you who knew him briefly, you’ll know how much of a chirpy, happy, funny man he was, especially around the poker table. Always making others laugh with his infectious personality and his one-liners. He lived for his family and was never happier than when taking care of others and making people laugh.”