By Rafi Mauro-Benady
A habitual thief who stabbed an innocent man to death over a second-hand Gucci bag has been jailed for 30 years.
Samuel Odupitan, 24, of Longheath Gardens, Croydon, murdered Tyler Roye, 24, during the early hours of Wednesday, February 26 in Bywood Avenue, Croydon.
Odupitan appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Monday, December 7 where he was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for the attack, which took place just minutes away from Mr Roye’s home.
Mr 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, February 25, Tyler had finished work at around 11pm.
Boarding a tram at East Croydon, he entered the same carriage as his killer, who had travelled from West Croydon.
CCTV footage showed Odupitan watching his victim intently, even moving seats to get closer to him.
Detectives believe he was drawn to Mr Tyler’s distinctive Bengal tiger-embossed Gucci bag. When they reached the Arena stop, Tyler got off the tram, completely unaware that he was being followed.
Within minutes, Tyler, who had just called his girlfriend, was approached by Odupitan. She heard Tyler say “bro, bro” before the line died. Odupitan knifed Tyler repeatedly before legging it.
After the attack Tyler managed to stumble his friend’s house nearby, where he raised the alarm.
He collapsed inside the home. One of the wounds to his torso was 15 centimetres deep and had sliced through his lung and aorta.
Tyler had been carrying a bag containing boxes of doughnuts for his family. It was found near to where he was attacked, ripped open with the food smattered across the pavement. Tyler’s iPhone and ear pods were also discovered, but the Gucci bag was missing.
Following enquiries about Tyler’s journey, Odupitan was identified from CCTV footage and, on Sunday, March 1, officers paid him a visit.
Odupitan was nabbed and his property was searched, but police couldn’t find not only Tyler’s bag, but also the jacket, trousers and trainers that Odupitan had been seen wearing that night.
He insisted that the distinctive jacket had been lent to him by a friend and since returned, but he was caught out when his ex-girlfriend said 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.
Police also found images of fancy bags he had searched for and been pictured with. Within hours of the murder, he had been sent images of the crime scene, and was 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 also 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.
For these incidents Odupitan was sentenced to more than 24 years – to run concurrently with the murder sentence.
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