A male model has been jailed for at least 25 years for murdering his more successful fashion rival in a row about a girlfriend.
Harry Uzoka, 25, who was signed with London’s Premier Model Management agency, was stabbed in the heart by George Koh after he went to settle the dispute.
Uzoka was armed with a dumbbell bar, while George Koh, 24, brought two knives and arrived with machete-wielding friend Merse Dikanda, 24, and personal trainer Jonathan Okigbo, 24.
All three were jailed.
CCTV footage captured the confrontation in Shepherds Bush in broad daylight, in an area where children were playing.
Mr Uzoka collapsed and died in the street outside his home in west London after Koh plunged a knife deep into his heart.
The Old Bailey heard Koh was obsessed with Mr Uzoka, who had recently landed a role in a movie.
The relationship deteriorated after Koh bragged to Paris-based model Annecetta Lafon that he had sex with Mr Uzoka’s girlfriend, Ruby Campbell, who is also a model.
Ms Campbell did not give evidence at the trial but in a later Instagram post including a picture of her and Mr Uzoka, insisted she had never met Koh and told of receiving ‘multiple death threats’ because of the case.
Koh, from Camden, was handed a life sentence on Friday after he was found guilty of murder and pleaded guilty to possessing a knife. He was told by Judge Wendy Joseph QC that he must serve at least 25 years.
Dikanda, also from Camden, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 22 years after he was found guilty of murder, and possessing knives. Okigbo, of no fixed address, was jailed for 14 years after he was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
Loud banging and shouting could be heard as they were taken down to the cells.
“The loss of any life is tragic, the more so when a victim is so young, able and generous,’ the judge said.
“Harry Uzoka was a young man of exceptional talent, who overcame his own difficulties to make a great success of his young life and to be a remarkable role model for others. He was 25-years-old when you killed him.
“Behind that bald statement are these facts: Harry Uzoka had, with great talent, forged a successful international career as a male model. He was one of the first black British men to do so.”
The court heard that Koh, who was said to have turned his life around after he was jailed in 2012 for drug dealing, has written a letter to Mr Uzoka’s family – who were sitting in court for the whole trial – expressing his “profound remorse”.
Mr Uzoka’s mother, Josephine Jackson, paid tribute to her “beautiful boy” who had helped to pay her mortgage and treated her to holidays abroad.
“Your short life enriched the lives of so many. You inspired so many people and touched them with your love. You will never be forgotten, my wonderful boy,” she said in a victim impact statement.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told the trial: “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.”