Male model stabbed more successful rival to death in row over girl, court told
A well-known male fashion model was knifed to death by a less successful rival in a row over a girl, a court has heard.
Harry Uzoka, 25, died on the pavement outside his home in Shepherd's Bush, west London, after he was stabbed in the heart.
The Old Bailey was told that he called George Koh, 24, "a fake" on Instagram and arranged a fight after finding out he claimed to have had sex with Mr Uzoka's model girlfriend, Ruby Campbell.
The alleged victim, who was known as "H", arrived for the confrontation on January 11 after recruiting his flatmate, Adrian Harper, and they were both armed with dumbbell bars, the jury heard.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said Koh, along with Merse Dikanda and Jonathan Okigbo, both 24, took at least three knives, including a machete.
"It is not difficult to work out which side won. Uzoka and Harper were outnumbered and bars stand little chance against knives," he said.
"It is the Crown's case that Koh stabbed Uzoka and that Okigbo and Dikanda went with Koh to support and assist him in the intentional infliction of serious harm.
"Their combined desire to overwhelm and cause serious injury is obvious from their combined actions that afternoon. They acted like a team because that is precisely what they were."
Koh and Okigbo, who are both from Camden in north London, both deny murder. Dikanda, of no fixed address, denies murder, possessing a machete on January 11 and possessing a knife on January 25.
Mr Horwell told jurors: "A murder does not become a more serious crime simply because the victim enjoyed a degree of fame, of course it doesn't, but Harry Uzoka was a well-known and successful model with a very bright future ahead of him and his celebrity status is relevant because it is that very part of his life that brought him into contact with the first defendant, George Koh.
"Koh was also a model but not as successful as Uzoka."
The court heard that Mr Uzoka, who worked with London's Premier model agency, was annoyed by the less successful Koh, who some said looked like him, because he tried to copy him and make contact with his friends.
But the relationship deteriorated after Paris-based model Annecetta Lafon, who had previously been in contact with both men on Instagram, arrived in London in late December last year, the jury was told.
The prosecutor said she was surprised to discovered that Koh "had something of an obsession" with Mr Uzoka.
He continued: "Koh claimed that he knew Uzoka well and then said that he had sex with Uzoka's girlfriend and that was the reason why they no longer talked.
"Koh then added that Uzoka was a bad man and a liar. And so it seemed that admiration for another model and his success had turned to contempt."
The jury was told a "confrontation" was arranged in Ollgar Road in Shepherd's Bush following a series of phone calls and messages on WhatsApp and Instagram after Ms Lafon told Mr Uzoka of Koh's claims.
One message sent by Koh on the day of the alleged attack said: "Where you I'll come there n we can fight bring ur friends with u."
Mr Horwell said the two groups met at 3.51pm and by 3.53pm it was all over.
Mr Horwell said Mr Uzoka and his flatmate, Mr Harper, ran when they, armed with bars, were confronted with knives.
Mr Harper got away, but Mr Uzoka collapsed after being stabbed in the heart.
"The emergency services did everything in their power to save him, but his injuries were devastating and he died on the pavement outside his home," added the prosecutor.
The court heard the fatal stabbing was not captured on CCTV cameras, although footage shown to the jury is said to show Koh brandishing two knives and Dikanda with a machete-type weapon.
The defendants allegedly took an Addison Lee taxi, booked in Koh's name, to and from the scene and jurors were told he tried to delete his account and asked his mobile phone company to change his number.
He handed himself in to police three days after the stabbing, giving a prepared statement which read: "During the altercation with Harry, he knocked me to the ground. He had a metal pole in his hand and went to strike me.
"I acted in self-defence because I feared that he would kill me or cause me serious injury.
"I had no intention to stab him in the chest. I was on the floor when he fell onto me. I maintain that my actions were reasonable given the circumstances."
But the prosecutor told jurors: "We suggest that prepared statement was a lie in an attempt to support a fabricated defence."
He added: "These three men went to a fight armed with knives. They plainly intended to use them and did so. And as a result Harry Uzoka lost his life."
The jury was told Koh has pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a knife.
The trial continues.