An illegal immigrant who beat to death “a kind and gentle man” at Hyde Park is facing life in jail.
Homeless Hani Khalaf, kicked, punched, stamped and robbed Jairo Medina, a carer from Chelsea , near Speakers’ Corner on the evening of August 11 last year, before leaving him to die.
The 22-year-old denied murder but was found guilty at the Old Bailey on Friday, exactly one year on from the brutal attack, following a retrial .
The Egyptian national had entered the country on the back of a lorry just days earlier, and hours before the murder appeared in court following a shoplifting arrest.
The court was told 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 62-year-old 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.
Police described Mr Medina as “a kind and gentle man who dedicated his life to caring for others” before acknowledging the help it had received from 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.”
Sentencing will take place on August 24.
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.