Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Shop manager's killer sentenced

Errol Clarke
Errol Clarke, 44, of Streatham, pleaded guilty to the murder

A man has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for murdering the manager of an exclusive London boutique during a street robbery.

Andrew Pratt, 43, who worked at Emilio Pucci shop in Sloane Street, was stabbed near his home in Camberwell, south London, in August 2008.

Errol Clarke, 44, of Streatham, pleaded guilty to the murder and two counts of robbery at Inner London Crown Court.

He stabbed Mr Pratt in the heart as he tried to hold on to his Gucci bag.

Clarke was also sentenced at the Inner London Crown Court to three terms of imprisonment for public protection in respect of two robberies and one attempted robbery.

'A tragedy'

The judge described Clarke, of Rutford Road, Streatham, as: "A drug addict who would stop at nothing, not even murder, to get money to feed his addictions."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Clarke was "jailed indefinitely for public protection".

The murder was investigated by the Homicide and Serious Crime Command who linked a series of 11 similar attacks, which were escalating in violence, between 5 June 2008 and 31 August 2008.

On 18 September, 2008, officers searched Clarke's home address and found mobile phones linking him to several robbery victims.

Andrew Pratt
Andrew Pratt was stabbed in the heart

He was arrested on 14 November on suspicion of the murder and 11 robberies. He was charged with 11 robberies when he appeared for trial and pleaded guilty to three.

Det Insp Rick Murphy, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, described Mr Pratt's murder as "a tragedy".

"Andrew Pratt was a well dressed man walking through the streets at night, just a few metres from his home," he said.

"He was targeted by an opportunistic thief looking for cash or a phone - ending in his violent murder.

"Just the day before he died, he was confirmed in his promotion as the manager. He was very well respected in the fashion world.

"Today's sentencing will give justice to Andrew's loving family and ensure a violent drug addict can no longer harm innocent members of the public to feed his habit."

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