A robber was convicted today of the murder of wealthy financier John Monckton, who was stabbed to death in front of his wife and young daughter.
Damien Hanson, 24, was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Monckton’s wife Homeyra and a further charge of robbery.
He and childhood friend Elliot White had tricked their way into Mr Monckton’s elegant home in the wealthy London area of Chelsea on the night of November 29 last year.
Their daughter Isobel, who witnessed part of the robbery as she hid upstairs, called the emergency services after the robbers fled.
The Moncktons were targeted because of their wealth, the court had been told.
White has already pleaded guilty to robbery. The jury is still considering its verdicts in relation to the charges of murder and attempted murder which he also faces.
Hanson and White denied the charges of murder and attempted murder.
As Hanson was unanimously found guilty of murder he showed no emotion but then glanced fleetingly at his co-defendant.
He had maintained throughout that he had never taken part in the robbery and had been elsewhere that evening visiting his sister in Brixton, south London.
But the Old Bailey jury rejected his alibi. He was found guilty of attempted murder by a majority of 11 to one and was convicted unanimously of the robbery charge.
On the night of the robbery, Hanson, who was "obsessed'' with the rich and particularly with their diamonds, got former drug addict Elliot White to pose as a postman with a parcel to trick Mr Monckton into opening the front door at 7.30pm.
Within minutes of Hanson and White pushing their way in, Mr Monckton, 49, lay dying from multiple stab wounds and Mrs Monckton was fighting for her life in a pool of blood, the court heard.
It was only the bravery of their daughter, nine-year-old Isobel, which saved Mrs Monckton, 46.
Horrified and frightened, she had watched some of the savage attack on her parents from the top of stairs and rang 999.
In the videotaped interview, Isobel described how, after the robbers fled, she heard her mother frantically screaming for help.
Mrs Monckton cried “help Issie” and the child ran downstairs where she saw “blood all over the floor” and on the walls.
Her mother, who had been stabbed twice in the back, was lying at the bottom of the stairs, with blood on her hands and legs.
In the interview, in which she clutched her toy rabbit, Isobel described how she saw her father lying on the floor with his eyes closed.
“I knew my Daddy was hurt … in the heart … cos there was blood there,” she said.
Mrs Monckton, who now walks with a stick as a result of the attack, broke down in court as she gave evidence.
She said she had felt “sheer panic” as the two men forced their way into her home.
Both she and her husband repeated “No, no”, as they tried to push the door shut. “But we were not strong enough,” she said.
Hanson came in with a balaclava disguise, a knife in his right hand and a gun in his left.
“He came through and stabbed me the first time,” Mrs Monckton said. “He stabbed me almost immediately, without saying anything.
“All I could think about was there was a panic alarm in the bedroom on the first floor and I needed to get up there. I was stabbed as I was going up.
“I did not know I was stabbed, there was no pain. But I could not feel anything in my legs.”
Hanson then demanded her jewellery. He took her diamond and emerald rings, a pair of costume jewellery earrings and a watch, all worth around £4,000 (€5,900).
Then he walked over to Mr Monckton and stabbed him several times, said Richard Horwell, prosecuting.
He also managed to stab White, whose blood was later found at the scene.
Mr Monckton, a senior bonds director with Legal and General, and his family had fallen victim to the robbery because of their wealth, it was alleged.
“Every householder’s nightmare became a reality for the Monckton family,” Mr Horwell said.
“The house was like a fortress – heavily and obviously protected by various security systems.”
After fleeing the house, Hanson and White allegedly drove to Crystal Palace in south London where they set fire to their clothing with petrol before heading to a takeaway.
Hanson had been staying at a bail hostel in Streatham, south London, after being released from prison only three months earlier just over half way through a 12-year sentence for attempted murder.
While he was in Highpoint prison, Suffolk, Hanson had researched rich people such as the Duke of Westminster and the Graff diamond firm on a library computer.
When police searched his room they found a collection of articles on the rich and diamonds and how to sell them. These included the Sunday Times Rich List. Ironically, the Moncktons were not on it.
However, officers did find a business card for the Via Venise shoe shop in Chelsea, where Mrs Monckton had been shopping earlier last year.