London: Accomplished Nigerian-British Model, Harry Uzoka, Stabbed to Death By Obsessed Rival George
A male model phoned a designer to say he could not attend a fashion shoot because he had just stabbed another model, a court heard.
It is alleged George Koh said he could not attend the shoot the next day and then set about trying to cover his tracks by trying to change his phone number and delete his account with a taxi firm.
He then moved more than £4,000 from his savings into his current account and withdrew £400, before eventually surrendering to police.
Koh and his accomplices, Jonathan Okigbo and Merse Dikanda, are accused of murdering 25-year-old GQ model Harry Uzoka on January 11 of this year.
Uzoka, who had appeared in campaigns for designers including Alexander McQueen, died on the pavement outside his home in Shepherd’s Bush from a stab wound to the heart.
The trio all threw away their phones which have never been recovered by police, but murder squad detectives found Dikanda’s knife hidden in his bedroom wrapped in a sock.
The court heard Uzoka had called Koh a “fake” on Instagram and arranged a fight after discovering the defendant had claimed to have had sex with his girlfriend Ruby Campbell, who is also a model, a jury heard. Annecetta Lafon, a model from Paris, had been in touch with both Koh and Uzoka and arrived in London in late December.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “Lafon was surprised to discover that Koh had something of an obsession with Uzoka.
“Koh knew that he was wanted for the murder of Mr Ozuka and he surrendered himself on the 14 January.
“Okigbo was arrested on the 15 January and Dikanda was arrested on the 25 and was found in possession of that knife.
“The day after Mr Uzoka’s death, Koh had a booking to work as a fashion model in Croydon, but on the night of the attack Koh telephoned the designer who had booked him and announced that he may not be able to attend the shoot.”
Koh said that he had been involved in a fight and that he had just stabbed somebody and did not appear the following day to the fashion shoot.
“Koh also contacted his mobile phone service provider and asked to change his number and Koh was also aware of another vulnerability,” Horwell said.
“An Addison Lee taxi which had taken him and his two co-defendants to and from the murder scene had been booked in his name, Koh had an account with Addison Lee and had booked those taxis in his name, through that account.
“He sought to delete his Addison Lee account but he was not successful.
“On the afternoon of the 12th January Koh made other preparations in efforts to lie low.
“He went to his bank and transferred £4,320 from his savings account to his current account which was just overdrawn by a very small sum.
“He also withdrew £400 in cash.”
The Old Bailey heard how the VW Polo next to which Uzoka was killed had four blood patches, which were traced back to the successful model.
In a statement to police Koh admitted being involved in the fight.
The statement read: “I George Koh would like to say the following in relation to my arrest.
“I did not wilfully take the life of Harry Uzoka. I was in fear for my life, Mr Uzoka was upset with me and had made threats of violence towards me.
“The night before the incident a group of black males attended my home address to intimidate me that made me feel very afraid.
“During the altercation he had a metal pole in his hand and wanted to strike me, I acted in self-defence because I feared that he would kill me.
“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.”
The trio, of Camden, north London, deny one count of murdering Harry Uzoka on 11 January 2018.
Koh has already pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of two knives, but Dikanda denies having an offensive weapon namely a machete and knife.
Tributes were paid to the model following his death, with clothing retailer Everlane tweeting: “We’re deeply saddened to hear about Harry Uzoka’s passing.
“He was a wonderful model but even more so a good person and a pleasure to work with.
“There’s so much more behind the person you’ve seen in our campaigns.
“Thank you, Harry, for being such a great person. Rest in peace.”
Model Jourdan Dunn posted a photo of Uzoka on Twitter, with the caption: “Rest in Paradise Young King.”
The trial continues.