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Man guilty of manslaughter after body found on Mitcham Common

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Man guilty of manslaughter after body found on Mitcham Common

A man has been convicted of killing a man and setting fire to his body in order to get out of paying a drugs debt.

Raphael Kokkinos, 34 (16.08.87) of Polworth Road, Streatham pleaded guilty to manslaughter and perverting the course of justice before the start of the trial on 13 April 2022.

Two other people, Aaron Williams, 29 (25.07.92) of Warwick Gardens, Thornton Heath and Sophia Kokkinos, 70 (27.07.51) of Chelsham Road, Clapham were found guilty of perverting the course of justice at the conclusion of a trial at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, 22 June.

All three will be sentenced at the same court – date to be confirmed.

Jean Loike Guei was killed as a result of a dispute over drugs which had been stolen from Kokkinos’ home in August 2020.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley, who led the investigation, said: “Following the burglary, Kokkinos owed Guei a significant amount of money which he had no way to pay back.

“When Guei arrived at Kokkinos’ address, he was attacked and killed. Kokkinos then persuaded and enrolled the help of his friend, Williams, and his mother to assist in covering up the crime in the hope they wouldn’t be caught.

“Their plans were no match for the work and determination of our team who used all of the resources at our disposal to gather a huge amount of evidence against the defendants.

“This is a tragic case which clearly illustrates the devastation that drug dealing can cause – not only has one man lost his life but others are now set to serve prison sentences as a result of their actions.”

Guei’s body was discovered after a member of the public spotted a fire in bushes on the side of a road near Mitcham Common in the early hours of Thursday, 17 September 2020.

A post-mortem examination concluded he had been assaulted and killed prior to his body being moved and set on fire.

The Met’s Specialist Crime Command launched an investigation and established that in the days following the burglary, there were frequent phone calls between Kokkinos and Guei.

On 14 September, Kokkinos called him to say that he had some of the money he owed and agreed to post it through the door of an address given to him by Guei.

The money failed to materialise and CCTV seized by officers showed that the following day, Guei made his way to Kokkinos’ flat on Polworth Road where he parked his car and went into the property at around 12:05hrs.

Officers believe that Guei was killed almost immediately by Kokkinos.

Aaron Williams arrived at the flat later that day and played a pivotal role in getting rid of Guei’s car by taking it to a mechanic on the pretence of selling it. It remained there until officers tracked it down during their enquiries.

CCTV also showed a convoy of cars travelling to Mitcham Common in the early hours of 17 September. At one point, the light caught one of the vehicles which appeared to have a bulky and irregular shaped object in the boot – officers believe this was the body of Guie.

The car used to transport the body was also sold on by Williams. The new owner said it was “exceptionally clean” inside and smelt of chlorine, indicative of the work done to try and remove any trace of Guei from the vehicle.

Kokkinos’ flat had also been subject to a thorough clean and to the naked eye there were no signs of any struggle. However, crime scene experts did discover two small bloodstains in the kitchen area which were later proven to be a match to Guei.

= The following people were found not guilty following the conclusion of the trial at the Old Bailey on 22 June:

- Benoni Thomas, 28 (12.04.84) of Old North Road, Cambridge, was found not guilty of manslaughter;
- Joseph Kokkinos, 32 (10.11.89) of Chelsham Road, Clapham was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice;
- Michael Brain, 28 (08.07.93) of Eyston Drive, Weybridge was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.