Killer teenagers get life sentences

WOOD GREEN

 

Two teenagers who stabbed a car insurance salesman to death over a £1,600 debt after luring him to a cul-de-sac in his silver BMW convertible were jailed for life today (weds).

Akol Garang and George Rodriguez, both 18, ambushed 23 year-old Omer Raza was a kitchen knife and a pole as he sat waiting to meet a bogus customer named ‘Stacey’ in Wood Green, north London.

Mr Raza was stabbed in the chest during the attack, which was plotted by Garang after the pair fell out over the money.

He was chased by Garang with a knife and collapsed in Downhills Park Road.

A witness who saw him bleeding to death said it was like ‘a scene from a horror movie.’

Garang and Rodriguez were both found guilty of murder and conspiracy to rob.

Garang was jailed for 25 years and Rodriguez was jailed for 21.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Raza’s sister Shamailla Niazi said her brother’s death had left a ‘void’ in her family.

She said of her father: ‘I see him waking up in the middle of the night calling Omar’s name because he was the go-to person for my father.

‘My mother, who was a very social person, has receded into a shell.

‘My younger brother Omer Raza was a person who could bring a smile to all our faces.

‘Even though I am elder to him he took care of me as if I were his younger sister.

‘All our lives are changed forever.

‘What did we do so wrong to deserve this?’

Garang first met Mr Raza, who also worked for Selfridges wine department, after advertising a red laptop for sale on Gumtree for £180.

Mr Raza bought the computer for his fiancee and then offered to sort out Garang’s car insurance.

Garang handed over an initial £300 but then failed to pay the remaining £1,600, and a few days later Mr Raza and two friends set up a meeting with Garang and seized another laptop he was selling.

Garang later boasted to a friend that he was going to ‘buck the insurance guy’ before the brutal killing.

Pretending to a be a potential customer named Stacey, he set up a meeting with Mr Raza in Ivatts Way near Turnpike Lane tube station for 2pm on 15 February this year.

Garang went armed with a kitchen knife, and Rodriguez, who was 17 at the time, had a metal pole.

During the trial, Garang claimed he repeatedly stabbed his victim ‘accidentally’ and said he did not realise he had been fatally wounded.

His defence counsel Peter Finnigan said: ‘He expresses his very deep regret of what he has done.

‘He accepts responsibility for what he has done and he expresses how very sorry he is to the family and friends of Omer Raza whose lives will have been shattered by his death.’

Rodriguez’s defence Paul Keleher said: ‘He shares significant moral responsibility for Omer Raza’s death as well as legal responsibility.

‘He makes clear that at the moment what’s keeping him going is the desire to spend his time in custody trying to make something of his young life, to make his family proud.’

The defence barrister quoted a letter written by Rodriguez: ‘Hopefully my parents will still be around to see me do something good for the world.’

Judge Sarah Munroe QC said: ‘On 15 February this year in broad daylight in a street in Wood Green, 23-year-old Omer Raza was murdered.

‘His living family who sat through the trial with composure and dignity have been devastated by this loss and their lives are changed forever.’

A witness to the attack described the scene as a ‘horror movie’, the judge said.

Garang, of Lausanne Road, Haringey, and Rodriguez, of Gospatrick Road, Tottenham, north London, both denied but were found guilty of murder and conspiracy to rob.

Garang was sentenced to 19 years for murder and six years for conspiracy to rob, to run concurrently.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 15 years for murder and six years for conspiracy to rob, to run concurrently.

As they were led away a woman shouted folornly from the public gallery: ‘It’s not fair.’

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