A man who murdered a wealthy Omani student near London department store Harrods has been sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison.
Mohammed Al-Araimi, 20, the son of property magnate Sheikh Abdullah Al-Araimi, was fatally stabbed in an alleyway after going for dinner with his university friend Nasser Kanoo, now 22.
Badir Al-Nazi, 24, and Arseboon Dilbaro, 23, targeted the King’s College students on December 5 2019 in what police suspected was an attempted robbery.
Mr Al-Araimi was wearing a £37,000 Patek Philippe watch, while Mr Kanoo had an £8,000 Rolex, as they were attacked following a dinner at Sale E Pepe after meeting outside the Bulgari Hotel close to Mr Al-Araimi’s family home.
The friends were less than 10 metres down an alleyway when they were attacked from behind by the pair who had been laying in wait.
Al-Nazi claimed that, minutes before the incident, he had asked the friends for a cigarette but that Mr Al-Amairi had denied his request and insulted him.
But this account was not supported by any evidence, the court heard.
Mr Al-Araimi was stabbed in the chest. He collapsed beside the Harrods Christmas tree and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Kanoo was stabbed in the hip and recovered from his injury.
Kuwaiti citizen Al-Nazi previously admitted manslaughter and having a knife but denied murder, claiming he did not mean to stab Mr Al-Araimi, while German national Dilbaro blamed the stabbings on his co-defendant.
Both men were acquitted of attempted robbery, but a jury at Inner London Crown Court found Al-Nazi guilty of murder and wounding Mr Kanoo with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.
Dilbaro was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and having a knife but found guilty of wounding Mr Kanoo by assisting Al-Nazi when he blocked the victim’s escape, the court heard.
At the same court on Thursday, Al-Nazi was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 27 years for murder, as well as an eight-year sentence for wounding with intent and six months for possession of a bladed article to be served concurrently.
Dilbaro was sentenced to 33 months in prison for wounding.
Addressing Al-Nazi, Judge Usha Karu said: “There is no doubt that you knew full well what you were doing when you used a knife that evening to murder Mr Al-Araimi and wound Mr Kanoo.
“In the space of eight seconds a life was lost.”
In a statement read to the court, Mr Al-Araimi’s brother, Raid, described his sibling as someone who “spread joy and kindness to anyone who crossed his path” and condemned his killing as a “cowardly attack”.
He said: “Mohammed was murdered in such a monstrous manner which has inflicted such pain on us which cannot be described.”
The court also heard a statement from Mr Kanoo, who said: “Never did I imagine that a casual dinner would evolve into the last time I would see my best friend Mohammed or the last time I could call him by his name.
“I can only hope the offenders realise that action, which lasted a mere eight seconds, has had a grave, detrimental impact on the lives of our loved ones.
“No matter what the motive was, there is no convincing enough reason to take an innocent life away and traumatise another.”