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Three found guilty over gambler's killing 25/04/2015
Press Association
Leonie Granger convicted of manslaughter for targeting Mehmet Hassan, who was kicked to death by her boyfriend and a friend

A woman has been found guilty of luring a professional gambler into bringing her to his flat, where he was kicked to death for the sake of his winnings.

Leonie Granger, 25, targeted 56-year-old Mehmet Hassan in March last year after meeting him in a Mayfair casino.

Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Granger was found guilty of his manslaughter but not guilty of murder. Her co-defendants Kyrron Jackson, 28, and Nicholas Chandler, 29, were convicted of murder.

There was a disturbance in the dock after the verdicts were delivered when Chandler began lashing out.

The court heard that Hassan was oblivious to the sting as he wined and dined the woman he knew as Rachel, even bragging to his friends that he was not paying her to be with him.

After their first date, Granger, a care assistant from Gillingham, Kent, was overheard by a taxi driver reporting back that Hassan was “flashy” and saying: “This guy is a professional gambler. He has never worked a day in his life.”
Mehmet Hassan

On the night of the murder, Hassan took Granger to the expensive Mayfair restaurant Nobu before going on to the Palm Beach Casino nearby, where he gave her £1,000 in cash to gamble with.

Granger was spotted by a poker supervisor kissing Hassan “passionately”, and the worker told the pair to “get a room”. Later, Hassan took Granger back to his Islington flat where she made an excuse and left in a taxi – but not before letting in her boyfriend, Jackson, and his friend Chandler, who were outside.

Using parcel tape, the two men tied up Hassan in his bedroom then kicked him to death and ransacked his home as they searched for his stash of cash.

Hassan was known to have two favourite casinos in Mayfair: the Playboy Casino on Old Park Lane and the Palm Beach Casino in Berkeley Street. He sometimes won as much as £15,000 at a time and rather than using bank accounts he would keep his winnings around his flat, even keeping thousands of pounds in his microwave.

The fact that the divorced father-of-three “enjoyed the company of women” made him particularly “vulnerable to the unscrupulous”, the prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told the jury.

He said Hassan’s death was the “culmination of the ruthless greed” of Jackson and Chandler, who had been involved in two armed robberies at the same casino in South Kensington in January and February last year with limited success. In each case, guns were used and the victims were tied up and subjected to violence.

The jury was shown CCTV film of the raids as well as clips of Granger and Hassan together in the casino hours before the killing. They were also played a short clip of the three defendants throwing the victim’s money around hours after the murder, with Jackson wearing a gas mask and stuffing a fistful of notes into his underpants.

In her defence, Granger admitted she had been involved in a plan to rob Hassan, but denied being party to the murder. She told jurors that on the night of the killing she saw Chandler waiting outside Hassan’s flat with another man she did not know.

While Jackson denied involvement in the murder, Chandler told the court they had both gone to an address in Islington. He said while his friend went inside the flat, he stayed in the car outside playing Flappy Bird and Candy Crush on his phone.

Jackson and Chandler, both from south-east London, were further convicted of robbing Hassan, 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.

Members of Hassan’s family sat in court throughout the trial. Following the verdicts, victim impact statements were read out on their behalf.

His sister Meyrem Musa described Hassan as a “very special and unique man”, a “witty and professional poker player” and a “devoted and committed father” whose violent death would haunt the family for ever.

His daughter Stephanie Hassan said her father had been cheated of a future and the chance to meet his grandchildren and see his own three children grow up. She wrote that he had always been there to support his family financially when they needed help, adding: “Every day we miss him and we love him.”

The reading of the statements was interrupted by an angry scuffle in the dock as Chandler stood up, swore loudly and lashed out, before being grappled to the floor by six dock officers.

Meanwhile, Granger, who wept as she was found guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to two, cowered in the far corner of the dock protected by a female dock officer.

After Chandler was removed in handcuffs, the judge William Kennedy told the remaining defendants: “You will return here for sentence on Tuesday 28 April. I think you understand you face very significant and immediate custody. That will be all.”
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