A man who violently attacked a carer in Hyde Park and left him for dead has been jailed for life.
A judge at the Old Bailey recommended on Thursday (August 24) that Egyptian national Hani Khalaf spend a minimum 26 years in jail for the murder of Jairo Medina on August 11 last year.
The 22-year-old had denied murder, but following a retrial was convicted earlier this month .
The illegal immigrant - who had only entered the country a few days prior to the murder in the back of a lorry - kicked, punched, stamped on and robbed 62-year-old Mr Medina, a carer from Chelsea , near Speakers’ Corner.
Khalaf, who appeared in court hours before the attack for a shop-lifting offence, was found guilty on August 11 - exactly one year after the murder.
During the trial the court heard Mr Medina, a single gay man with a preference for young dark-skinned men, had told his brother he was popping out for fresh air on the night of his murder.
He took a bus to the Marble Arch area and was captured on CCTV at around 11pm in a convenience store with Khalaf.
The two bought some items, left the store and then made their way into Hyde Park.
It is unknown precisely what happened while Mr Medina and Khalaf were in the park but at some point Khalaf turned on his victim.
Mr Medina suffered severe injuries after being punched and kicked by Khalaf, resulting in numerous broken bones including fractured ribs and trauma to his head.
As Mr Medina lay dying on the ground, Khalaf stole his rucksack and fled the scene. He rifled through the bag, emptying and dropping a wallet as well as taking a mobile phone.
The body of Mr Medina was found by a Hyde Park groundsman at around 5.45am.
Police were called and Mr Medina was pronounced dead at the scene, and a murder investigation was launched, with forensics combing the area (see video above).
A post-mortem examination on August 13 at Westminster Mortuary gave cause of death as blunt force trauma.
Approximately 12 hours after the vicious attack, Khalaf made his way to a mobile and computer shop in Kilburn where he tried and failed to sell Mr Medina’s phone.
Detectives carried out enquires and established that Mr Medina’s phone had been activated in the store. They were able to obtain CCTV footage of Khalaf there.
Six days later Khalaf was arrested for an unrelated matter. Officers immediately recognised him as the person who was with Mr Medina prior to his death and Khalaf was arrested for murder.
Forensic examination of Khalaf’s clothing revealed Mr Medina’s DNA on his watch and belt. Khalaf’s DNA was also found on the rucksack abandoned at the scene.
Speaking through a translator, Khalaf, who would sleep rough in Hyde Park, said he met Mr Medina on a park bench but was buying pastries at a convenience store at the time of the killing.
When he returned, he claimed to have found the bloodied body of the victim and taken his mobile phone, intending to raise the alarm.
Following the guilty verdict, police called Mr Medina “a kind and gentle man who dedicated his life to caring for others” and the LGBT community.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall said: “In the very early stages of the investigation we realised that Jairo was an openly gay man who liked to socialise in and around Hyde Park.
“Our investigation received a lot of support and assistance from representatives of the LGBT community who work alongside the local police in Westminster.”
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