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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Lunch-hour killer jailed for life
Bernard Hegarty
Bernard Hegarty was killed while shopping
A drug addict who stabbed a man to death in a bungled street mugging has been jailed for life.

Christopher Olokun, 31, murdered architect Bernard Hegarty after trying to steal his wallet and mobile phone.

Mr Hegarty, 29, was attacked in Bethnal Green, east London, in August 2004, while he was shopping on his lunch break from work.

Sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday, Olokun was told he must serve a minimum term of 25 years.

He was also found guilty of five knife-point street robberies and sentenced to a concurrent 10-year term.

'Needless loss of life'

Judge John Diehl said crack addict Olokun had gone out "hunting - looking for someone to fund his next fix, irrespective of the consequences".

He said Olokun had robbed others and usually the sight of the knife had been enough for people to surrender their belongings.

But Mr Hegarty "was made of sterner stuff" and had the "audacity" to stand up to him.

The court heard Olokun had told a friend he killed Mr Hegarty because "he wouldn't give me his phone or his wallet".

He was clearly a courageous man. That courage has cost him his life because the would-be robber turned into a murderer
Judge John Diehl

Judge Diehl said: "He resisted, he struggled. Whether you stabbed him because he got in your way or to punish him, we will never know.

"It was a needless loss of life."

Mr Hegarty had gone out looking for carpets on the day he was attacked.

Colleagues from his office nearby rushed to help when he collapsed to the ground.

An air ambulance doctor performed open-chest surgery on the pavement but Mr Hegarty never regained consciousness and died five days later.

'Bright future'

The judge said: "He was clearly a courageous man. That courage has cost him his life because the would-be robber turned into a murderer."

Det Chf Insp Jim Condron said: "This was an appalling, unprovoked and pointless murder.

"Bernard was a well-loved and caring man who had a bright future ahead of him.

"We can only hope that Olokun's conviction... provides Bernard's family with some small comfort and solace."




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