Mehmet Hassan grew up in Bethnal Green, East London. The fifty-six-year-old’s life couldn’t be better; his gambling at the high stakes poker tables was earning him thousands of pounds, and his love life was getting more livelier than ever. Moreover, he was dating a gorgeous aspiring model half his age. On the night of the murder, Hassan wined and dined his date at the Mayfair Japanese restaurant Nobu in London before heading to the nearby Palm Beach Casino. Unbeknown to Hassan, that dinner would be his last meal; he was a man spending his very last night on earth. Hassan knew his date as Rachel; however, her real name was Leonie Granger, and she worked as a care assistant. She has misrepresented herself, and Mehmet Hassan had no clue the kind of person he allowed in his life.
The last poker game
When Hassan and his “girl” Leonie Granger, aka Rachel, reached the Palm Beach Casino, Hassan handed her 1000 pounds cash to try her luck and have fun. However, it was this generosity coupled with a naivety that made him a mark. His killers would later in court claim that Hassan was “flashy,” but perhaps they mistook his gentlemanly demeanor for flashiness.
At the Casino, Hassan was having a good time, and because of the display of passion and kisses, the pair were told to calm things or get a room by the poker supervisor. It was all a show, a way to get Hassan to put his guard down. However, the only thing Granger wanted from Hassan was his money.
Hassan made the mistake of being too open with his winnings. People knew that he kept money in his flat. One of Hassan’s friends who spoke to him by phone a few hours before the murder said, “I phoned him up on Sunday night to see how the poker was going….He always had money. He had a lot of money in the flat, I would say he had about £20,000. Whoever went there knew there was money in the flat. It was a set-up.” The following Monday night, the police found Mehmet Hassan’s body.
After winning 3000 pounds at the Casino, Hassan and Leonie Granger headed back to Hassan’s flat. Granger was not only the honeytrap, but it was also she who would facilitate the set-up. Before Granger left, she had let in the killers who would carry out the rest of the crime. The killers were none other than Granger’s boyfriend, 28-year-old Kyrron Jackson, and 29-year-old Nicholas Chandler. The two murderers stomped and kicked him to death after binding him with a necktie and tape. Afterward, the thugs’ videotaped themselves dancing and showing off bundles of cash, money that was Hassan’s. It was as savage as it was merciless; their greed meant so much to them than the life they were snuffing away.
The trial at the Old Bailey
Granger admitted to plot robbing Hassan at the trial but denied being privy to the murder. But how could she not know when it was she who let the murderers in? Granger’s next lie was more perplexing. She told the jurors that when she got out of Hassan’s flat, she saw Chandler waiting outside with another man who she did not know? But, again, how could she not know her boyfriend?
When Jackson stopped denying involvement in the murder, his friend Chandler claimed to have been outside in the car playing games on his phone. As a result, Leonie Granger was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years, while her boyfriend Kyrron Jackson and Nicholas Chandler were convicted of murder and were jailed for life.
The prosecutor Mr. Crispin Aylet told jurors, “The fact that the divorced father-of-three enjoyed the company of women made him particularly vulnerable to the unscrupulous.” I disagree with the prosecutor’s assessment: Just because one enjoys the company of women, it doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence. If that were true, we would all be dead. Mehmet Hassan enjoyed life and made sure those around him enjoyed themselves too. Likewise, Granger enjoyed herself when she was wined, dined, and was given enough money to place bets, all the while she was plotting and scheming her way to gain his trust.
A well-liked human being
Speaking on Mehmet Hassan, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Partridge said, “People who knew Mehmet Hassan — his family, friends and associates — described him as a likeable and generous man. His death was senseless, motivated by the greed of three people who exploited his generosity in the most callous manner imaginable.”
Ross Boatman, another professional poker player, also spoke warmly about Mehmet Hassan. He said, “He was a wonderful, warm man — the original loveable rogue — and he would gamble on anything…What has happened is so terribly sad. Everybody loved and respected him, he was a gentleman and his death is a real loss.”
However, to his three children, he was simply a “dad” whose absence leaves a void that can never be filled, however much those responsible are punished.
All sources included.