Man jailed for life for murder of shopkeeper

|News, Violent crime

A 22-year-old man, who killed a pizza shop owner and then fled the UK in order to return to his home country of Romania, has today been jailed for life imprisonment.

Masoud Esmailain was the owner of Roma Pizza which was located on the Dudley Road in Winson Green, Birmingham. He had employed the defendant, Andrei Ilie to assist with some chores in the shop.

Around 1.30am on 28 August 2015, the victim closed his shop, collected the money from the till and headed home. He was accompanied by the defendant. Having left the shop they headed to Mr Esmailain’s home in West Bromwich.

At around midday, the victim’s son visited the shop but his father had not opened for business. Concerned for his welfare, he tried to contact him and when he could not reach him, he contacted the police.

Officers attended the victim’s home address and found him dead in his bedroom. He had been stabbed once to the chest and the cash takings from his business had been taken

By the time the deceased’s body was found the defendant had caught a coach and fled to Romania. On 6 June 2016, Ilie was sentenced in Romania to three years after he was found guilty of committing a robbery in his home country.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued and following his sentence in Romania, Ilie was extradited back to the United Kingdom where he was found guilty of murder.

Giovanni D’Alessandro, Senior Crown Prosecutor with West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Andrei Ilie has tried in vain to escape justice by first fleeing the country and when arrested, claiming he was acting in self-defence as the victim had tried to sexually assault him.

“The defendant was aware that the victim had the shop’s takings on his as they left the business for the day and he saw an opportunity to rob him. He attacked Mr Esmailain and stabbed him in the chest, killing him. He then changed his clothes and made good his escape, first from West Bromwich and subsequently by coach from the UK.

“The CPS worked with our colleagues in various criminal justice agencies to prepare a European Arrest Warrant as well as an International Letter of Request. I would like to place on record my thanks to our counterparts in Romania who first supplied us with the evidence we requested then assisted us in bringing back to the UK this dangerous defendant. With their help with have brought Ilie to justice for the brutal murder of Mr Esmailain.

“Our thoughts today turn to the family and friends of Mr Esmailain.”

Notes to editors

  • Andrei Ilie D.O.B. is 7/11/1995

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