New Cross double murder

The New Cross double murder occurred on 29 June 2008. Two French research students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, were stabbed to death in New Cross, London Borough of Lewisham in South East London, United Kingdom.

Murders edit

The victims were bound, gagged, and tortured over several hours; they were killed after being stabbed 196 and 47 times, respectively. The bodies were discovered by firefighters in a flat, in which a fire had been started deliberately. The flat, rented by Laurent Bonomo, was in Sterling Gardens, New Cross, South East London, England, on 29 June 2008. Greenwich mortuary post mortem showed both died from wounds to the head, neck and chest before the fire took hold. A petrol-like accelerant was poured upon their bodies.

Victims edit

Both victims were biochemistry students and in their third year of a master's degree at Polytech Clermont-Ferrand university in France, on a three-month DNA research project exchange programme at Imperial College London. Bonomo was from Velaux, Bouches-du-Rhône, southern France; Ferez from Prouzel, Picardy, northern France.[1][2][3]

Investigation edit

It was established that the victims' bank cards and two Sony PSP handheld game consoles were missing, and it was believed they were stolen by the killers.[4] Prior to the events, on 23 June 2008, the same flat was burgled and a laptop was stolen.[5]

The Metropolitan Police announced on 5 July 2008, the arrest of a 21-year-old man, who was released on the afternoon of 6 July without further action.[5]

E-fit edit

On 6 July 2008, police issued an image of the murders' main suspect, based on the descriptions of witnesses who had seen him running away from Sterling Gardens just after 22:00 BST.[6][7] He was described as "white, 30 to 40 years of age, of slight or slim build and wearing light coloured baseball cap, a dark top with the word "Junfan" on, blue jeans and white trainers".

Ferez's parents Françoise and Olivier, of Prouzel, appealed: "Please help us to reveal the truth. Help us to know, to understand and to come to terms with our loss."[8] They also stated: "Rest assured that we will not leave you in peace; and you will not be able to live in hiding forever."[9] DCI Mick Duthie stated: "I also want to reiterate an appeal for anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious throughout that day, last Sunday, June 29. Just to repeat what we know: Laurent spoke to his fiancée around 01:00 BST on the Sunday morning. After that, no-one heard from Laurent or Gabriel or saw them. It is important to stress that the attack could have taken place at any time during Sunday."[10]

Second arrest and charge edit

Police held in custody 33-year-old Nigel Edward Farmer who handed himself in to police at Lewisham Police Station. He was later taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries.[11]

The thin 33-year-old man whose face and hands were badly burned had walked into Lewisham Police Station, apparently to confess to being the killer. He was told to wait in line at the reception by a civilian worker for 5 minutes. He said: "I've got third degree f***ing burns and they are not doing anything about it." He was released from hospital and interviewed in custody by the police. Meanwhile, 600 students, on 7 July demonstrated against the murders in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The group led by Mayor Serge Godart, included teachers, local residents and children that carried a huge banner "Pour Lolo et Gab" ("For Lolo and Gab"), "From all the corners of the world, the second-year biological students think of you and those close to you."[12][13]

Inquest edit

A Greenwich Magistrates' Court's judge, on the afternoon of 8 July, granted the police's request for an extension of the investigation, by issuing a 36 hours "warrant of further detention." Accordingly, Southwark Coroner's Court's Doreen Lawrence adjourned the coroner's inquest for 28 days pending police inquiries.[14][15][16]

Court appearance and other arrests edit

On 10 July, Nigel Edward Farmer, unemployed and without fixed address, was charged with both murders, arson and attempting to pervert the course of justice when he appeared before Greenwich Magistrates' Court. Bench chairman Phil Rogers ordered his remand in custody until 16 October for his appearance at the Old Bailey. Wearing a white sweatshirt, a tracksuit top with rolled up sleeves and white tracksuit bottoms, and his head shaved, he stood in the dock with two security guards. No application for bail was filed.[17][18][19]

On 11 July 2008, it was reported by ITN that another man had been arrested in connection with the murders.[20] Armed police arrested Daniel "Dano" Sonnex, 23, in Peckham, south-east London, after Scotland Yard issued an alert to trace him. Described as "extremely dangerous" he was detained and investigated after his brother, Bernard, 35 and a woman, 25, handed themselves to the police.[21][22][23] Sonnex had been previously detained regarding serious, violent incidents. His parents, Kathleen and Bernard live in a terraced house in New Cross.[24]

Sonnex, 23, from Peckham, on 12 July 2008, was charged with murder and perverting the course of justice. He appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on 14 July. Sonnex's brother, Bernard, 35, and a woman, aged 25, had been released on bail, to return in July and August, respectively, pending further investigation.[25][26] Police were also granted more time to question a man of 23 on the murders.[27] Dano Sonnex appeared before Wimbledon magistrates and was back in custody until 20 October to appear at the Old Bailey.[28]

The trial of Daniel Sonnex and Nigel Farmer began on 24 April 2009 at the Old Bailey.[29]

The jury began to consider their verdict on 29 May 2009. Moving impact statements were given by the prosecutor.[citation needed]

On 4 June 2009, Sonnex and Farmer were found guilty of murder, Sonnex was sentenced to serve a minimum of 40 years in prison, and Farmer was ordered to stay behind bars for at least 35 years. Sonnex should have been in prison at the time of the murders but had been set free due to an administrative error. David Scott, the chief officer of London Probation, resigned in March 2009 after an investigation began into why Sonnex had not been recalled to prison.[30][31] While the UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw apologised to the families over the blunders which left Sonnex free to commit the crime; the families announced their intentions to commence legal proceedings against the authorities.[31]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Man arrested in connection with murder of French students". the Guardian. 5 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Man arrested for murder of French students". Archived from the original on 20 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Are you a robot?". Archived from the original on 21 March 2010. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  4. ^ "Arrest made in London murders of 2 French students".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b "New appeal over students' murder". BBC News Online. 6 July 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  6. ^ Pix Pictures The Guardian. 6 July 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2022
  7. ^ "Photo-x-$7014976$180.JPG (180x184 pixels)". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Man arrested over murders of two French students taken to hospital -". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009.
  9. ^ "Murder suspect treated for burns". BBC News Online. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  10. ^ ", Police release e-Fit of New Cross murders suspect". Archived from the original on 3 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Student murders suspect in hospital".[permanent dead link]
  12. ^, Man gives himself up over murders and is told: Wait in the queue Archived 2008-07-09 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Police quiz man over murdered French students". Reuters. 8 July 2008 – via
  14. ^ "London police question French student killings suspect". Archived from the original on 12 July 2008.
  15. ^ "Extra time for student murders quiz".[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "LEWISHAM: More time to question murder suspect". This Is Local London.
  17. ^ "Man in court over student murders".[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Two arrested over murders of French students". The Independent. 9 July 2008. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022.
  19. ^ "French student murders: 33-year-old in custody after court appearance".
  20. ^ "ITN – Man arrested over student murders". Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  21. ^ "Man appears in court over French students' murder". the Guardian. 10 July 2008.
  22. ^, Fourth person held over French students' death Archived 2008-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "French student murders: Police arrest man over Tarantino-style killings -". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009.
  24. ^, Daniel Sonnex held over ‘Tarantino murders’ of French students
  25. ^ "Second man charged over murders". 12 July 2008 – via
  26. ^ "Second man charged with two murders".[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Sunday People - News, views, gossip, pictures, video". mirror.
  28. ^ "Second man in court over murder of French students". Daily Record. 14 July 2008.
  29. ^ "Students faced 'inhuman torture'". 28 April 2009 – via
  30. ^ Bentham, Martin (13 April 2012). "Probation chief resigns after 'blunder led to murder'". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  31. ^ a b "Errors left 'sadist' free to kill". 4 June 2009 – via