A 24-year-old Nigerian man, Samuel Odupitan, who stabbed a stranger to death in order to steal his second-hand Gucci bag in Croydon, London was convicted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
Odupitan, of Longheath Gardens, Croydon, killed 24-year-old Tyler Roye on February 26 in Bywood Avenue, Croydon.
He appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday December 1, where he was found guilty of murder following the vicious attack, which took place just minutes away from the victim’s home.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Monday, 7 December.
Tyler, who worked as a hotel concierge in Stratford was stabbed five times in the back and abdomen. He was treated at the scene and on arrival at hospital, but later died in theatre.
The court heard that on the evening of Tuesday, 25 February, Tyler had finished work at around 23.00hrs and began his journey home. Boarding a tram at East Croydon, he entered the same carriage as Odupitan, who had travelled from West Croydon.
CCTV footage captured Odupitan watching Tyler intently, even moving seats to get closer to him.
Detectives believe he was drawn to the distinctive Bengal tiger embossed Gucci messenger-style bag Tyler was carrying. When they reached the Arena stop, Tyler made his way of off the tram; completely unaware that he was being followed by Odupitan.
Within minutes, Tyler – who had just called his girlfriend – was approached by Odupitan. She heard Tyler say “Bro, bro..” before the line went dead. Odupitan stabbed Tyler five times before running from the scene.
After the incident Tyler managed to get to the nearby address of a friend, where he raised the alarm. He collapsed inside the property. One of the wounds to his torso was 15 centimeters deep and had cut through his lung and aorta.
Tyler had been carrying a bag containing boxes of doughnuts for his family. This bag was found near to where he had been attacked; ripped open with the food strewn across the pavement. Tyler’s iPhone and ear pods were also discovered; but his Gucci bag was missing.
An investigation was launched by officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command [Homicide].
As a result of enquiries surrounding Tyler’s journey, Odupitan was identified from CCTV footage and on Sunday, 1 March officers attended his address.
Odupitan was arrested and a search of the property was carried out; but officers were unable to locate not only Tyler’s bag, but also the jacket, trousers and trainers that Odupitan had been seen wearing that night.
He tried to claim that the distinctive jacket had been lent to him by a friend and since returned; but he was caught out when his ex-partner confirmed that she had bought it for him as a gift.
An examination of Odupitan’s mobile phone revealed a number of images of knives he had viewed on the internet, further photographs of knives sent to him by friends, as well as text message exchanges about knives.
Officers also discovered a video of him driving a car whilst holding a knife. In addition they found images of designer bags he had searched for and been pictured with. And within hours of the murder he was being sent images of the crime scene and carrying out internet searches about post mortems.
In addition to Tyler’s murder, Odupitan was also convicted of four robberies which he pleaded guilty to at an earlier hearing. The incidents took place in south London in September and October 2019 and saw mask-wearing Odupitan rob four victims – including a woman – of their watches. The three male victims were assaulted during the offences, with a knife used in one of them.
Tyler Roye’s mother, Cecilia Smith, said “Odupitan is an evil predator and opportunist who preyed on my son for a bag. He robbed my son of his precious life. He is a danger to society and has no regard for human life.”
Detective Inspector Mel Pressley, of the Specialist Crime Command, said: “Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Tyler, who lost him in the most tragic and needless circumstances. Nothing will ever relieve their pain, but I hope that today’s conviction goes some way to providing them with some form of comfort.
“Odupitan is an extremely dangerous and heartless individual – not only because he was capable of such brutal violence, but because he was willing to inflict it on a stranger for the sake of a material item which caught his eye and he decided he just had to have. Very sadly for Tyler, Odupitan had no care for what the consequences might be.”