London

Man jailed for Golders Green £250,000 debt 'execution'

Lundrim Gjikokaj
Image caption Lundrim Gjikokaj arrived with a box of chocolates in a fake gesture of goodwill before opening fire

A man who murdered his friend in a "cold-blooded execution" to avoid paying back a £250,000 debt has been jailed for at least 28 years.

Lundrim Gjikokaj shot Cima Sogojeva, 27, seven times before stabbing him on the doorstep of his home in Golders Green, north London, in 2008.

Jurors heard Gjikokaj, 30, arrived with a box of chocolates in a fake gesture of goodwill before pulling out the gun.

Gjikokaj, of Reading, Berkshire, was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 28 years.

The court heard Mr Sogojeva had been putting pressure on Gjikokaj, a Kosovan national, to repay the debt and had threatened his family.

Image caption Cima Sogojeva had threatened Gjikokaj's family over the debt

In response Gjikokaj, of Elms Avenue in Reading, killed him at his home in Highfield Road in October, 2008.

Judge Nicholas Browne told Gjikokaj: "This was a planned, pre-meditated, brutal, cold-blooded execution.

"You had murder in mind and what followed was a cowardly and merciless attack.

"You knew you could not pay him, so you decided to eliminate him."

Det Ch Insp Tim Duffield, of the MPS's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said Gjikokaj presented a "carefully crafted alibi" after his arrest.

He said Gjikokaj told police he was a close friend of the victim and claimed to be "heartbroken" at hearing of Cima's death.

"A detailed investigation established that Gjikokaj - a compulsive gambler - had in fact meticulously planned the fatal events, and his motivation was purely to avoid paying a significant and rapidly escalating debt," Mr Duffield said.

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