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'It's mad, it had to happen' - Life in jail for teenagers after Selfridges worker stabbed to death over £400 debt

The 18-year-old pair stabbed Omar Raza - leaving him for dead - before stealing his blood covered designer watch and putting it up for sale on Gumtree

Teenagers who posed as a woman to lure a Selfridges worker to a "business deal" before he was stabbed to death have been jailed for life.

Omar Raza, 23, who had a promising career ahead of him and was engaged to be married, was stabbed multiple times in broad daylight over a £400 debt.

Akol Garang, 18, of Lausanne Road, Hornsey, was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 19 years for murder and conspiracy to rob, on Wednesday (September 13).

George Rodriguez-Galean, 18, of Gospatrick Road, Wood Green was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 15 years, also for murder and conspiracy to rob.

The Old Bailey heard Omar, 23, was stabbed to death in broad daylight in Downhills Park road, near Turnpike Lane, on Wednesday February 15.

'Needless death of a man with a promising career'

Homicide and major crime command Detective Inspector Mark Richards said: "Omar was lured to his death by two men intent on seeking retribution over a relatively small financial dispute.

"They set up a false identity to persuade him to the scene near Turnpike Lane where they robbed him and stabbed him.

"These tragic events escalated dramatically and led to the needless death of a man with a promising career who was at the time engaged to be married.

"The jury considered the heavy weight of evidence against both defendants and I am satisfied with their verdicts today.

"Our thoughts remain with Omar's family at this difficult time."

Promising Selfridges worker Omar Raza was stabbed to death in broad daylight(Image: Metropolitan Police)

The pair showed no emotion as they were convicted by the Old Bailey jury after less than a day of deliberations.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told jurors Mr Raza was working in the wine department of Selfridges and earned commission by arranging car insurance for individuals through an insurance broker he knew.

In December 2016, Omar's fiancée was looking to buy a new laptop when she came across one Garang was selling on Gumtree.

When they bought the laptop, Garang mentioned how he does not have car insurance and Omar offered to help.

The next day Omar arranged insurance for Garang, who paid the first instalment of £300, leaving £1,600 outstanding.

Omar tried to contact Garang over the next month to get the rest of the money but no further cash was paid.

The pair trapped Omar into thinking he was meeting a woman called 'Stacey' about insurance(Image: Metropolitan Police)

On January 10 2017, Omar travelled with two friends to where Garang lived in Wood Green as he knew he had advertised a Macbook Air for sale on Gumtree the week before.

The police said there was some kind of altercation during which Omar took the laptop without paying Garang for it.

The next day, Garang messaged a friend to tell her what had happened and said he was going to find those responsible and "do something mad".

On February 15, Garang changed SIM cards on his mobile phone to disguise his number as he messaged Omar posing as "Stacey" and wanting car insurance.

Akol Garang must serve a minimum of 19 years for murder and conspiracy to rob(Image: Metropolitan Police)

Mr Rees said: "The deceased was lured to that location under the pretence that he was going to be selling car insurance to a female called Stacey.

"In fact, it was a trap - Stacey didn't exist.

"The trap had been set by the first defendant, Akol Garang, who had been involved in a dispute with Omar Raza relating to the non-payment of car insurance that Omar Raza had arranged for him.

"In the course of this dispute, Omar Raza had taken a laptop off Akol Garang; this had made Akol Garang angry and, as a consequence, this sham meeting was arranged so he could take his revenge by attacking Omar Raza with a knife and robbing him."

The barrister said Garang enlisted the help of his friend Galean who "agreed to play his part in the ambush".

Rodriguez-Galean was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 15 years(Image: Metropolitan Police)

He said: "The prosecution say that the defendants entered into an agreement to rob Omar Raza of any valuable property that he brought to this meeting.

"In addition, we say that Akol Garang intended either to kill or cause serious bodily harm to Omar Raza with a knife, if the opportunity arose.

"George Galean was aware of this and was happy to play his part in the attack, intending to assist and encourage his co-defendant to cause, at least, really serious harm to Mr Raza."

The pair discussed what they were going to do as well as what weapons they were taking to the meeting, including a knife.

CCTV showed Garang hanging back and peering around a wall, anxious not to be seen as Rodriguez-Galean appeared and walked towards Omar.

The court heard how Rodriguez-Galean, talked to Omar and then walked away from his car, seemingly talking on his mobile.

Armed with a knife, Garang began jogging towards Omar.

Omar was stabbed a number of times and despite bleeding heavily he managed to get out and run into Downhills Park Road, pursued by Garang, who tried to stab him again, this time in the back.

Omar turned took off his Armani watch and threw it at Garang while shouting out for help.

Garang caught it and walked off, joining Rodriguez-Galean who had returned to Omar's car and taken an iPhone from inside.

Omar banged on a door and the resident came to his aid before he collapsed bleeding in her hallway.

Police and London Ambulance Service attended but Omar could not be saved - he'd suffered a fatal stab wound to the chest.

The prosecution said it was inflicted by Garang, which he accepted but stated it was an accident.

'It's mad, it had to happen...I owed him like £400'

A post-mortem examination later showed Omar had received four other stab or slash wounds, including one to the top of the head passing down under the skin and exiting at the back of the ear.

The next morning Garang messaged one person "it's mad, it had to happen...I owed him like £400, I was selling my laptop so I can pay him but it's over now anyway".

Rodriguez-Galean discussed selling Omar's iPhone and watch, which he said had "a lot of blood inside the links" but that he could clean it with bleach.

Garang advertised Omar's watch for sale on Gumtree that evening.

He was arrested at his home address on February 22 with trainers, gloves and a jacket seized from his bedroom which had Omar's blood on them.

Rodriguez-Galean was arrested the same day at his family home with jeans found under his bed had the Omar's DNA on them.

Both men were charged on February 23.

Garang had previously pleaded guilty to robbery, but changed his plea to not guilty on the first day of trial.

He was found guilty on Friday September 8, at the Old Bailey of murdering and conspiring to rob Omar Raza.

Rodriguez-Galean was also found guilty of both murder and conspiracy to rob.

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