England

Killed poker player Mehmet Hassan a 'soft target'

Mehmet Hassan Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Mehmet Hassan died from neck and chest injuries

A professional gambler who tried to woo a young woman was unaware he was a "soft target" being lured into a deadly honey trap, a court has heard.

Mehmet Hassan was tied up and kicked to death for the winnings he had stashed in his London flat in March last year.

The 56-year-old had wined and dined Leonie Granger at a top restaurant.

Ms Granger, 25, from Kent, her boyfriend Kyrron Jackson and his friend Nicholas Chandler, all deny murder and false imprisonment.

After going out with Mr Hassan, Ms Granger reported back to her accomplices that he was "flashy", the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said the male defendants, who are both 28, had been involved in two armed robberies on the Grosvenor Casino but with limited success.

The jury heard the plot against Mr Hassan was hatched a month before the killing when the care assistant from Gillingham, Kent, met him at a Mayfair casino and they exchanged phone numbers.

Reading out an exchange of text messages, Mr Aylett said Ms Granger had introduced herself as Rachel "so it rather looks as though Mehmet Hassan was being set up from the very first".

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Media captionMehmet Hassan was tied up and kicked to death in March 2014

Mr Hassan told her: "I live in Islington and I'm a professional poker player. Don't laugh Rachel because believe me I am quite good.

"Maybe with your brains and my money we can make you in to a great player."

Her reply was lost but he responds: "Funds is my department Rachel plus it would be my pleasure to have the opportunity to wine and dine you."

'Never worked a day'

Mr Aylett said the couple went out for dinner and then on to the Playboy Casino in Mayfair where the couple spent an hour before he cashed in his chips and was given £1,900 in cash.

He then handed over two £50 notes and was given two sealed packets each containing £1,000.

They went back to Mr Hassan's Islington flat but Ms Granger left in a minicab shortly afterwards and asked to be taken to an address off the Old Kent Road in south London, rather than home to Gillingham.

The cab driver recalled her telling someone on her mobile phone Mr Hassan was "flashy" and had been showing off, saying: "This guy is a professional gambler. He has never worked a day in his life."

Mr Aylett said: "The prosecution suggest Jackson and Chandler had moved on from targeting casinos to someone who frequented the casino and had sums of very ready cash."

Mr Jackson of Romborough Way, Lewisham, south-east London; and Mr Chandler, of Lee High Road, south-east London, also deny two counts of plotting to rob employees of Grosvenor Casinos, two counts of conspiracy to have a shotgun and imitation firearm in January last year, and two counts of conspiracy to falsely imprison.

The trial continues.

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