Harry Uzoka murder: Model guilty of stabbing fashion rival to death

Harry Uzoka

Harry Uzoka modelled for brands including Mercedes and Zara

A model has been found guilty of stabbing his fashion rival 25-year-old Harry Uzoka to death.

George Koh, 24, stabbed Mr Uzoka in the heart after going to settle a dispute about a woman, accompanied by two friends.

Koh had told people he knew he had sex with his rival’s girlfriend, fellow model Ruby Campbell, and the two male models met for a confrontation.

Koh was carrying two knives as he and two friends met Mr Uzoka and one of his friends Adrian Harper in west London’s Shepherds Bush on 11 January.

A fight broke out and Koh and his friend Merse Dikanda chased Mr Uzoka while he was pursued by Jonathan Okigbo.

Dikanda was also found guilty of murder.

Okigbo, 24, was cleared of the same offence but convicted of manslaughter.

George Koh, Merse Dikanda and Jonathan Okigbo

George Koh, Merse Dikanda and Jonathan Okigbo

Mr Uzoka had just landed a film role before he was murdered by his less successful rival, Koh’s trial at the Old Bailey heard.

They were described as being friends but the relationship deteriorated when Mr Uzoka became annoyed by Koh, who was said to resemble him and be copying him.

Relations worsened after Koh bragged to Paris-based model Annecetta Lafon that he slept with Ms Campbell.

His model friend Chuck Achike told jurors: “He said George said ‘He f***** my girl’, which I thought was petty and young. He knew it wasn’t true and I knew it wasn’t true.”

Before the murder, Mr Uzoka had been planning a trip to the Netherlands for his girlfriend’s birthday and was said to be in a good mood, despite hearing about the claims from Ms Lafon.

But on the day of his death, he received a message from Koh asking for a “fight” and telling him to “bring ur friends”.

Mr Harper said when they got there they found their adversaries were armed with knives, while he and Mr Uzoka had brought metal bars from weight training equipment.

Mr Harper said: “I took my pole out. I saw George had his hand to his side, a knife in each hand.”

Chuck Achike arrives at the Old Bailey in London to give evidence in the murder trial of 25-year-old Harry Uzoka

Chuck Achike arrives at the Old Bailey during the trial

“I went left, Harry went right. I stopped and saw that Harry was cornered by the other two. It looked like they were talking.

“They were like right up in front of him, I think to make sure he could not go anywhere. But my attention was on the man chasing me.”

When he was able to find his friend again, Mr Uzoka said “I’ve been stabbed,” and collapsed in the road.

Mr Uzoka was found injured in Old Oak Road at 4pm and was pronounced dead at the scene an hour later.

Koh told the court he brought weapons as he was “worried Harry’s friends would beat me up” after he unsuccessfully tried to call to apologise.

He claimed he lashed out in self defence and hit Mr Uzoka’s shoulder but could not remember stabbing him in the chest.

Dikanda denied carrying a machete, claiming Koh never told him he had two knives, but he was convicted of the murder and possession.

Okigbo, also from Camden, he was only expecting “a push or a shove, nothing more.”

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Simon Pickford, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “It beggars belief as to how such a trivial argument over what has been described as ‘pillow talk’ could escalate to the point where a group of men arrange to meet with weapons in a busy London street, prepared to seriously injure each other.

“The greatest tragedy of course is for Harry’s family. There are no winners in this incident, but I hope this guilty verdict for Koh, Dikanda and Okigbo will give them some small comfort as they continue to come to terms with their loss.”

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In a statement, Harry’s family said: “Harry’s death has been a great shock to everyone that knew him and even those that did not.

“He left a positive and irreplaceable mark on so many. We still find it difficult to believe he is actually gone. It was yet again another senseless killing.”

“Harry was a hard-working, committed and ambitious young man. He was a role model for all, especially young black boys, a high percentage of whom are raised in poverty and need positive influences to encourage them to stay on the right track in life.

“It is so important for young boys to see people like themselves from similar backgrounds doing well so that they can also have positive dreams and aspirations that they know are achievable. Harry was such a positive, loving and caring influence.”

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