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30.03.2006 Diaspora News

Drug addicts murder Ghanaian neighbour

Drug addicts murder Ghanaian neighbour

UK -- Two drug addicts have been jailed for life for murdering a [Ghanaian] neighbour in order to get at inheritance money he planned to use to restore an African church.

Julian Hayford had celebrated his 55th birthday just hours before he was brutally murdered in his own home in Kennington, south London, on the day of the London bombings last year.

Irish citizen Paul O'Shea, 27, of Sedley House, Wynyard Terrace, Kennington, and Ian Noonan, 40, of no fixed abode, were both jailed for life after being found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey today.

O'Shea will spend at least 27 years and 103 days in jail and Noonan will be locked up for a minimum of 29 years and 108 days.

The court heard how the pair broke into Mr Hayford's flat, where he and his wife, Happy, were sleeping, and attacked him.

They bound his wrists behind his back and then repeatedly hit him on the head with a statue before fleeing with jewellery and credit cards.

Happy Hayford was awoken by the attack and recognised O'Shea as the nephew of a neighbour.

She had recently told this neighbour about her husband inheriting £4,000 in cash from his father, and of his plans to rebuild a church in his native Ghana with it.

O'Shea and Noonan heard about this from O'Shea's aunt and subsequently decided to steal the cash in order to fund their drug habits.

Mr Hayford was taken to hospital after the attack, but died from his injuries.

In sentencing today, Judge Paul Focke QC said that the murder had a "devastating effect" on Mr Hayford's wife and was likely to leave "permanent psychological scarring" on a woman who was already dependent on her husband.

O'Shea refused to respond to questioning by police throughout the investigation and denied being part of the assault. He did admit to burgling Mr Hayford's flat.

Noonan did not give evidence and had previously tried to falsely implicate another man when questioned by police.

Speaking after the unanimous verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan police, who led the investigation, said the murderers' motive was "pure greed".

"They wanted Julian Hayford's inheritance to fuel their drug addictions and would go to terrifying lengths to get it," he said.

"My thoughts are with Julian's wife and family. Both these men had denied their involvement despite overwhelming evidence and forced the victim's family to endure the trial process. I am pleased we have been able to bring them to justice."