Canonbury poker player killed in honey trap was ‘soft target’, court hears

Mehmet Hassan, 56, was found dead at his flat in Baxter Road, N1

Mehmet Hassan, 56, was found dead at his flat in Baxter Road, N1 - Credit: Archant

Trio targeted father of three after failed attempt to rob casino, jurors told

Westcliffe House, Baxter Road, where Mr Hassan lived alone

Westcliffe House, Baxter Road, where Mr Hassan lived alone - Credit: Archant

A professional gambler from Canonbury tried to woo a young woman with champagne at a top restaurant unaware he was a “soft target” being lured into a deadly honey trap, a court heard.

Leonie Granger, 25, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of her part in the murder of 56-year-old Mehmet Hassan who was tied up and kicked to death for the winnings he had stashed in his flat in March last year

After the divorced father-of-three had “wined and dined” Granger, she reported back to her accomplices that he was “flashy” and had “never worked a day in his life”, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told how Granger set up the sting with her boyfriend Kyrron Jackson and his friend Nicholas Chandler, both 28, after the men had been involved in two armed robberies on the Grosvenor Casino - but with limited success.

The plot was hatched a month before the killing when the care assistant met Mr Hassan at a Mayfair casino and they exchanged phone numbers.

Mr Aylett said that, on their first meeting following a text exchange, the couple spent just an hour at the casino before he cashed in his chips and was given GBP1,900 in cash. He then handed over two £50 notes and was given two sealed packets each containing £1,000.

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They went back to Mr Hassan’s Islington flat but Granger left in a minicab shortly afterwards and asked to be taken to an address off the Old Kent Road in south London, rather than home to Gillingham in Kent.

The cab driver recalled Granger telling someone on her mobile phone that Hassan was “flashy” and had been showing off, saying: “This guy is a professional gambler. He has never worked a day in his life.”

Mr Aylett said: “The prosecution suggest that it must have already been agreed between Miss Granger, Kyrron Jackson and Nicholas Chandler that Miss Granger would find a soft target with ready cash in order that Jackson and Chandler might rob him.

“After all, Jackson and Chandler had had to go to a deal of trouble to rob the Grosvenor Casino. Thus far, the haul on the first robbery had amounted to £10,000 to be split four ways and the second robbery had been a disaster.”

He went on: “The prosecution suggest Jackson and Chandler had moved on from targeting casinos to someone who frequented the casino and had sums of very ready cash.”

Granger is charged with Mr Hassan’s murder and false imprisonment alongside Jackson and Chandler.

The two men are further charged with robbing Mr Hassan, two counts of plotting to rob employees of Grosvenor Casinos, two counts of conspiracy to have a shotgun and imitation firearm in January last year, and two counts of conspiracy to falsely imprison.

Granger, of Gillingham, Kent; Jackson, of Romborough Way, Lewisham, south-east London; and Chandler, of Lee High Road, south-east London, deny the charges against them.