Two burglars have been found guilty of killing a man during a failed attempt to snatch nearly £100,000 worth of drugs from a cannabis factory.
Shaddai Smith, 32, and Jason Sebran, 38, broke into a house in Granville Avenue, Hounslow, west London, on March 22 last year.
The Old Bailey has heard the property was the base of a ‘sophisticated’ operation to grow more than 200 cannabis plants worth an estimated £95,000.
Smith and Sebran climbed a ladder and through a bathroom window, to find the house occupied by Albanian Renato Geci, 21, and his brother Vilson Geci, 29.
The older brother went to see what was happening and was confronted by the intruders and sprayed in the face with what he believed to be acid, the court heard.
These men were not acting in the public interest. Instead they were in it for the money
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett KC had told jurors a violent struggle ensued, with Smith grabbing a knife from the kitchen and Sebran armed with a screwdriver.
Mr Aylett said: ‘Renato was stabbed to death with the knife and stabbed with the screwdriver.
“As for Vilson, he was stabbed in the thigh with the knife and he also suffered a significant number of other injuries, although most of them were quite superficial.”
The defendants fled through a window and went to the ground.
After his arrest, Smith admitted to going to burglarize the premises and claimed he was attacked.
Sebran told police someone else entered the house while he was waiting outside in his car.
However, Vilson Geci’s description of a striker’s tattoos matched the letters and numbers on Sebran’s arms celebrating the names and birthdays of his two children.
Sebran told officers: ‘It’s not like I walk into someone’s house and steal your TV and your video – it’s cannabis. They shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, so I have no morals in taking it.
But Mr Aylett told jurors: ‘Still, these men were not acting in the public interest. Instead, they were there for the money.
“An expert has suggested the potential value of the cannabis could have been as high as £95,000.”
Jurors were told the pair had pleaded guilty to burglary, but said they believed the premises were unoccupied at the time.
The jury deliberated for nearly 25 hours to find Smith and Sebran guilty of murder and willful injury by a majority of 11 to one.
Smith, of Firwood Lane, Romford, and Sebran, of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, were remanded in custody to face sentencing on Thursday.
Detective Inspector Garth Hall of Scotland Yard said: ‘Smith and Sebran’s claims that they believed the house they were entering was empty and that their intention was only to steal cannabis plants have been refuted. by the jury.
“Both men had ample opportunity to leave the property when they found Renato and another man inside; however, they were driven by greed and the profit they saw they could make from stealing the cannabis plants.
“They decided to attack Renato, using lethal force as they overpowered him, and causing multiple wounds to their second victim before fleeing empty-handed.”
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