Robber dubbed ‘Murder Mike’ who accidentally shot dead his accomplice as they tried to steal fake Rolexes jailed for 30 years
20:46 GMT, 26 November 2012
Daniel Tesfay, 27, blasted Jonathan Barnes, 20, pictured, in the head as they attempted to escape with timepieces they believed were worth 8,000
A bungling robber dubbed ‘Murder Mike’ was jailed for 30 years today for accidentally shooting his accomplice as they tried to steal a cache of fake Rolex watches.
Daniel Tesfay, 27, blasted Jonathan Barnes, 20, in the head as they attempted to escape with timepieces they believed were worth 8,000.
In fact, the three Submariner watches had been bought over the internet for 118 each by intended victim Jordaan Williams to dupe unsuspecting buyers.
After setting up a meeting, Tesfay boasted he was known as ‘Murder Mike’ before trying to snatch the Rolexes.
In the ensuing scuffle, he tried to shoot Mr Williams but pulled the trigger just as Barnes stepped into the path of the bullet.
Tesfay, a hip-hop artist under the stage name ‘Wolfie’, then ran from the scene leaving his friend fatally wounded.
He denied murder, claiming he and Barnes had themselves been victims of a violent robbery, but was convicted of murder after an Old Bailey trial.
Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 30 years, Judge Paul Worsley said there was no mitigation for Tesfay’s crime.
‘You discharged your loaded handgun at one of these young men and by mistake shot him through the head,’ he added.
‘This is an offence with a higher seriousness than most and you have shown no remorse.’
In a statement read to the court, Mr Barnes’ mother and father, Judith and Douglas, said: ‘The senseless killing of our son has been like a bad nightmare.’
‘He is sorely missed,’ they added.
Mr Williams bought the three watches from the RolexReplica website and offered them for sale to friends via BlackBerry Messenger in August last year.
One of them passed the advert to Barnes, who responded with a message reading: ‘Can I rob them’
He later insisted he would pay for them and went to Mr William’s home in Morland Road, Croydon, south London, with Tesfay at around 8pm on August 23.
The pair inspected the watches before leaving and returning later that evening.
Barnes agreed to buy the watches for 6,500 but the mood suddenly changed and he said to Tesfay: ‘Let’s do it.’
‘At that point Daniel Tesfay looked at Jordaan Williams and produced a loaded semi-automatic pistol from behind a brown manbag he was carrying,’ said prosecutor Roger Smart.
‘He pressed this against Jordaan Williams chest and said: “Do you know who I am, I’m Murder Mike, I’ll blow your chest off, I’ll shoot you.”'
The pair believed the timepieces were expensive Rolex watches, like the one pictured
After taking a Blackberry mobile phone
belonging to Mr Williams’ friend Emmanuel Akokhia, they tried to run out
through the front door.
Mr Williams grabbed Barnes and Tesfay brandished the gun at him, the court heard.
‘Daniel Tesfay threatened him with the firearm before again turning to leave the premises.’
As the pair tried to make their escape, Mr Williams, whose mother was upstairs on the phone to her cousin, grabbed hold of Barnes in an attempt to stop him from leaving.
Tesfay then tried to shoot the seller, but missed – hitting his partner in crime in the head.
The murder weapon was never recovered.
Barnes was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead two days later.
In the days that followed, Tesfay booked a room at the Kensington Townhouse Hotel in Earl’s Court, southwest London, where he checked in under the name Yusuf Ibrahim.
But police tracked him down and armed officers swooped on September 1 as he returned from a nearby pharmacy where he had gone to buy toiletries.
A search of his single room later revealed 400 of cash in 100 bundles.
During his trial, the killer claimed Barnes was shot by a mystery gunman after Mr Williams tried to steal the 6,500 cash he said they had brought to buy the watches with.
Tesfay, of Tollgate Gardens, Kilburn, northwest London, denied murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.