Published: 16:01, 09 May 2022
| Updated: 16:40, 09 May 2022
A deadly attack carried out in the mistaken belief that their target possessed a large quantity of drugs has resulted in two men being convicted of murder.
Harvey MacFoy, 26, of Beachborough Road, Bromley, and Donald Owusu, 25, of no fixed address, have today both found guilty of the murder of 33-year-old Albert Amofa following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Theo Brown, 32, of Horsham, West Sussex, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice for his role in disposing of the car used in the attack. MacFoy pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at the start of the trial.
All three will be sentenced at the same court on a date yet to be set.
Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway, a homicide detective from the Met’s Specialist Crime, led the investigation. She said: “Owusu and MacFoy put a considerable amount of planning into the attack on Albert, who they believed would be in possession of a considerable quantity of cannabis.
"Whether their actual plan was to rob Albert using the threat of violence before making their escape will never be known. However, their initial motive is irrelevant as they descended into using lethal violence as events unravelled, leaving Albert with multiple stab injuries as they fled from the scene empty-handed.”
Albert's family said: "We as a family are very pleased with the outcome of the trial. Albert’s death was senseless and cruel. He suffered for 48 hours in intensive care before passing away. "That will always stay with us.
"For two and a half years, we have had to put our lives on hold waiting for this trial, which has prolonged our suffering. Albert is not a statistic in black on black crime, he was a father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and a good man, who is loved and we miss him dearly. We are glad that the men who committed this crime have been found guilty, but the cycle of violence needs to end."
The court heard how Albert, and a female friend, had arrived home and parked his car in Drake Road, Croydon, shortly after 9.10pm on December 15, 2019. They had just returned from dropping Albert’s son back with his mother in west London.
As Albert tried to get out of the car, he was rushed by two men – one of whom was Owusu – who pushed him back into the vehicle. The woman, who had already got out the car, was grabbed by MacFoy and forced into the back.
The assailants demanded the keys to the vehicle but could not find them and during the struggle, Owusu stabbed Albert in the leg multiple times. Panicking, all three suspects ran from the car towards Onslow Road, leaving Albert – who had rolled out of the car onto the pavement – bleeding heavily. The woman was unharmed.
The emergency services were called and Albert was taken to hospital where he died the next day.
A murder investigation was launched and quickly focused on the direction the suspects had been seen fleeing, in nearby Onslow Road. CCTV identified a Peugeot car that detectives were adamant the suspects had used.
Just over a week after the murder, a car-hire firm reported one of their Peugeots as stolen – the company confirmed that the car was fitted with a device which recorded its location each time the engine was turned on and off, enabling them to track its location.
The car had been hired around a week earlier and had been paid for by MacFoy's girlfriend. In the period after being hired on December 13, the car did not move from a spot close to an address in Bromley to which MacFoy had links.
Detectives began to pair CCTV with the locations they knew the car had been parked and quickly identified that MacFoy and Owusu had been regularly using it.
More importantly, the data showed the car had been driven and parked in Onslow Road, Croydon, minutes before the attack on Albert. The car was then shown to have driven away from the area almost immediately after the suspects were seen fleeing Drake Road.
“I believe their initial intention was to rob Albert of the drugs they thought he had but, in the disarray that ensued, this escalated into a fatal attack..."
Both MacFoy and Owusu were arrested. Further analysis of various mobile phones in their possession revealed they had been in regular contact with each other at key times over the period of days around Albert’s murder. Their phones also placed them at significant locations, backing up the evidence provided by the car data and CCTV.
The car itself was found abandoned with false number plates fitted in a residential street in Nottingham. It had been driven there by Theo Brown, while MacFoy travelled in convoy in a van.
Brown, a mechanic, had removed the tracking device from the car prior to the journey north.
Once the car was examined, it was found to contain traces of Albert’s blood, indicating that either Owusu or MacFoy, or both, had been in the car after the attack.
Following the murder, Albert’s car had been seized by police so it too could be forensically examined. During this work, a tracking device was discovered fixed to the underside of the car.
The data for this device was obtained and revealed further evidence of the planning by Owusu and MacFoy. The device had been purchased from a shop in Camden on November 29 – officers used phone data to show that Owusu and MacFoy were in the vicinity of the shop at the time the purchase was made.
They also used phone data, along with the movements of the hire car, to show that this tracker was driven to Onslow Road, Croydon, in the early hours of December 13 – it then became stationary, having been fitted to the underside of Albert’s car.
By tapping into the movements of Albert’s car, Owusu and MacFoy were able to precisely time their arrival in Onslow Road on the night of the murder, to coincide with Albert’s return from his trip to west London.
Detective Inspector Sidaway added: “Owusu and MacFoy put a considerable amount of planning and resource into ensuring they knew where Albert would be so they could apprehend him. Why did they do this? They appear to have been convinced, having seen chat on social media, that Albert was dealing drugs and would be in possession of a large quantity of cannabis.
“I believe their initial intention was to rob Albert of the drugs they thought he had but, in the disarray that ensued, this escalated into a fatal attack.
“Throughout this trial, Albert’s family and friends have shown great strength and character – I can only hope that the conviction of Owusu and MacFoy can bring some sort of justice to them as they continue to deal with the unbearable pain Albert’s untimely death has caused.”
The second man who got into the front of the car with Owusu during the attack on Albert has never been identified.