A criminologist and a music producer who killed a fitness fanatic in a violent robbery for his cash and Rolex watch have been jailed.
Aliysa Ellis, 31, and Christopher McDonald, 35, plotted a violent raid on victim Paul Tong’s Ealing flat where he was known to keep money and valuables.
Mr Tong, 54, a drug dealer known as Yankee, was battered to death with his own dumbbell by McDonald after Ellis had helped her accomplice get access to the flat, the Old Bailey jury was told.
Ellis, a criminology Masters degree student, was cleared at trial of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob, and was jailed today for 13 years.
McDonald, who has a first-class degree in psychology, was found guilty of the murder and conspiracy to rob, and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 32 years.
Judge John Hillen called Ellis “callous” and said McDonald was “unreformed, greedy, selfish and arrogant”.
He said Ellis was the “instigator” of the robbery, telling her: “It if were not for you, your planned crime, and your pitiless behaviour, Paul Tong would have lived beyond the date of his death.”
McDonald was already subject to a life sentence at the time of the killing, after a “strikingly similar” incident involving a raid on a Matalan store in Luton and the violent beating of a man who threatened to thwart it.
Mr Tong had spent part of the afternoon having sex with Ellis on the day he died, April 19, 2017. His lifeless body was discovered by his aunt the following day.
“The state of the room suggests that Mr Tong was killed by people who were seeking to find and take his money, his drugs and his valuables,” said Jake Hallam QC, prosecuting. “This was plainly a murder for gain.”
Police found that the “ransacked” home had been stripped of valuables, and Ellis’s fingerprint was discovered on the inside of an empty Rolex watch case.
Mr Tong, a father-of-one fitness fanatic, had cuts and bruises on his head and body, broken ribs and a ruptured liver. Mr Hallam said violence must have been anticipated in the robbery due to Mr Tong’s physique, and the weights bar was the likely weapon used.
McDonald was given a life sentence with a minimum term of six years in 2008 after admitting an attack on a man involving a bar, Taser and knife in November 2007.
He had plotted to steal £15,000 from the safe at a Matalan store in Luton, and attacked a man who had discovered details of the plot.
Relatives of Mr Tong criticised Ellis and McDonald for not pleading guilty, saying they did not have “the integrity or the decency to accept their responsibility and spare members of the family from the ordeal of having to undergo not one but two trials before justice was finally done”.
McDonald and Ellis both denied involvement in Mr Tong’s death, seeking to blame each other. Ellis will serve at least two-thirds of her sentence, while McDonald will be almost 70 before he can apply for release.