Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Man given 20 years for Matalan shop manager murder

Kobina Essel
Kobina Essel stabbed Mr Simpson in the neck

A 19-year-old man who was found guilty of murdering a Matalan shop manager has been sentenced to life with a minimum 20-year term.

Kobina Essel stabbed Jamie Simpson, 33, during a botched robbery in March 2008.

Mr Simpson was stabbed in the neck with a 10-inch knife during the hold-up at the store in Hackney, east London.

Essel, of Manor Park, east London, was found guilty of the murder by an Old Bailey jury in February. He had denied the charge.

The knifeman, who told the court he was "panicking" as he stabbed Mr Simpson three times, was also given 11 years' detention for conspiracy to rob.

'Terrible consequences'

The court heard the gang planned to rob the store over the Easter weekend, hoping to get up to £30,000.

Sentencing Essel, Judge Martin Stephens said: "This case demonstrates in a vivid way the horrors of knife crime and the terrible consequences to the victim, his family and friends and to society as a whole.

"You went into this with your eyes open. You went in with a knife and you did not hesitate to use it."

Victim Jamie Simpson
Jamie Simpson had been entrusted by the store to look after the takings and he did so with his life
Aftab Jafferjee QC

Essel's accomplices Anthony Maina, 20, Randy Osei-Owusu, 17, and Simeon Jumah, 25, were convicted of manslaughter.

Following the conviction it emerged that Maina, 20, of Canning Town, had been on police bail for the murder of a teenager when he took part in the failed robbery.

He was later convicted of the murder of 17-year-old Rizwan Darbar and jailed for life with a minimum term of 14 years.

Maina has now been given indeterminate sentences over the Matalan killing.

He has been given minimum terms of six years for manslaughter and five years for the robbery, which will be served concurrently with the life sentence.

Judge Stephens said Maina posed a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public.

Three other men were found guilty of conspiracy to rob the store.

Roy Williams, 31, of Edmonton, north London, a friend of Mr Simpson and a security guard, was the gang's "inside man".

The judge described his involvement as "despicable" and jailed him for 10 years.

Jammal Chambers, 18, of Poplar, east London, was ordered to be detained for seven years.

Duane Owusu, 20, of Manor Park, east London, was the getaway driver. He was given eight years' detention.

Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, told the trial: "Jamie Simpson had been entrusted by the store to look after the takings and he did so with his life."

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