NEWS
13/08/2018 15:53 BST | Updated 14/08/2018 09:09 BST

Model George Koh Found Guilty Of Murdering Fashion Rival Harry Uzoka

The 25-year-old was found stabbed on 11 January.

A model has been found guilty of killing his more successful fashion rival in a row over a girlfriend.

George Koh, 24, stabbed Harry Uzoka in the heart after he went to settle the dispute, accompanied by two friends.

Uzoka, 25, who was armed only with a dumbbell bar, collapsed and died in the street outside his Shepherd’s Bush home.

Koh had denied murder, claiming he carried two knives because he was scared Uzoka and his friends would beat him up.

But a jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty of murder, along with his machete-wielding friend Merse Dikanda, 24.

PA Wire/PA Images
Court artist sketchof (left to right) Merse Dikanda, Jonathan Okigbo, and George Koh at The Old Bailey

Personal trainer Jonathan Okigbo, also 24, was convicted of manslaughter. All three men will be sentenced on September 21.

Uzoka was signed with London’s Premier Model Management agency and counted catwalk star Jourdan Dunn among his friends.

He had recently landed a film role but became annoyed by the less successful copycat Koh, who was said to resemble him.

The relationship deteriorated after Koh bragged to Paris-based model Annecetta Lafon that he had sex with Uzoka’s girlfriend, fellow model Ruby Campbell.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “Koh claimed that he knew Uzoka well and then said that he had sex with Uzoka’s girlfriend and that was the reason why they no longer talked.”

Before the killing,  Uzoka had been planning a trip to Amsterdam for Campbell’s birthday and was said to be in a positive mood, despite hearing about the claims from Lafon.

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.”

But on January 11, Uzoka received a message from Koh saying: “Where you I’ll come there n we can fight bring ur friends with u.”

Uzoka, who was known as H, replied: “Come Shepherd’s Bush.”

The defendants took a minicab and confronted Uzoka and his flatmate Adrian Harper outside their address.

Harper, who also had a metal pole, told jurors: “I was expecting a fist fight but I took the bell bar because I knew we were outnumbered.

“I had no idea and did not expect that knives would be used and I would not have gone out if I had thought knives would be used.

“I had my pole up my right sleeve. They turned. They were ready to fight. I took my pole out. I saw George had his hand to his side, a knife in each hand.”

He told jurors that Okigbo chased after him while his friend was cornered by the other two men.

Mr Harper said: “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 saw his friend again Uzoka said “I’ve been stabbed,” and collapsed in the road.

Giving evidence, Koh said he was “worried Harry’s friends would beat me up” after he unsuccessfully tried to call to apologise.

The night before the killing, he said three young men he thought were Uzoka’s friends had stood outside his Camden home “to intimidate” him.

On the fight, he said: “Although Merse had a machete and I had two knives it was Harry who was the aggressor.

“I told Harry it was ridiculous. We could be brothers. It was over a girl. Harry said ‘I don’t care’ and swung the pole at my head and nearly hit me.”

Koh said he lashed out in self-defence and hit Uzoka’s shoulder but could not remember stabbing him in the chest.

Okigbo, also from Camden, told jurors: “I was only expecting a bunch of models arguing, a push or a shove, nothing more.

“I was only there to look scary. I thought they were a bunch of models and there was no harm in them meeting each other.”

Dikanda said he had a probation meeting earlier that day and Koh never told him he had two knives.

Koh never claimed to have slept with Campbell, only that he could have but did not because she was Uzoka’s girlfriend, he said.

Koh had pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a knife.

Dikanda denied possessing a machete on January 11 and possessing a knife on January 25 but was convicted of the charges.

Clothing retailer Everlane tweeted: “We’re deeply saddened to hear about Harry Uzoka’s passing.

“He was a wonderful model but even more so a good person and a pleasure to work with.

“There’s so much more behind the person you’ve seen in our campaigns.

“Thank you, Harry, for being such a great person. Rest in peace.”