18 years in jail for Red Cross volunteer who strangled deaf friend for his iPad

Soufiane Essabri

Soufiane Essabri

First published in News
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A Charlton Red Cross volunteer who stabbed and battered his deaf friend before throttling him with the flex of an iron and stealing his iPad has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Frenchman Soufiane Essabri, of Rathmore Road, murdered his former flatmate Latvian Andrejs Ivanovs and then fled through the first floor window when police tried to break down the door.

Essabri, 23, a habitual thief who has even stolen from his own parents, turned up at Mr Ivanovs' Kennington flat in December 2012 intent on stealing the iPad.

Violence broke out after Mr Ivanovs, a McDonald's worker, noticed what his friend was trying to do.

It is claimed the victim went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife, leading to a scuffle during which Essabri "quickly gained the upper hand", stabbing his friend "many times" before strangling him with the cord of an iron.

After making his escape from police, a bloodied Essabri returned home with the iPad and used it to chat to his girlfriend, later setting up an internet account in the dead man's name.

Mr Ivanovs, meanwhile, had suffered multiple stab wounds to his face, neck, chest and back, and deep bruising to his head.

The bones in his neck had been fractured and the cord of the iron was still wrapped around his neck when he was found.

In mitigation, Stephen Kamlish told the court Essabri - convicted of murder by a majority verdict - had written an apologetic letter, explaining: "He has at the forefront of his mind the effect of what he's done on the family."

But Judge Christopher Moss told him: "My firm view is that, whatever you may say about remorse, the only person he really feels sorry for is himself."

During the trial, Essabri claimed he was acting in self-defence and that it was the Mr Ivanovs, losing self control due to a rare brain condition, who attacked the would-be thief with a knife and then an iron.

Mr Kamlish said: "It was opportunistic and tragic but not something he thought about doing until it happened."

Sentencing him to life with a minimum of 18 years at the Old Bailey on April 9, Judge Moss told the murderer he had committed a "ferocious attack", saying: "You strangled him, in my judgement, deliberately and in order to make your escape."

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