A Nigerian model identified as 25-year-old Harry Uzoka, was reportedly stabbed to death by an “obsessed” catwalk rival in an Instagram feud over a girl, the Old Bailey heard today.
The simmering online feud which ensued after Uzoka called his lookalike fellow model George Koh a “fake” and accused him of trying to copy his burgeoning celebrity career, culminated in a street confrontation in Shepherd’s Bush.
The Nigerian model who worked for top brands including Zara and Mercedes, was stabbed through the heart by 24-year-old Kog after a row on Instagram over a woman, a jury heard. He died after a two-minute confrontation with George Koh, 24, collapsing on the pavement outside his home in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.
The Old Bailey also heard that the two men clashed in January, with Uzoka and a friend armed with dumbbell bars. Koh was armed with a knife in each hand, and supported by two friends, armed with a machete and another knife.
Richard Horwell QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “This all started at about 3.51pm that afternoon and it was over by 3.53pm.
“By the end, Harry Uzoka had been fatally stabbed in the heart and although he got away, he collapsed and died outside his home.”
The jury heard that Koh was a less-successful model than Uzoka, who had become annoyed about claims Koh allegedly made that he had slept with his girlfriend.
Horwell told the court: “George Koh was also a model, not as successful as Uzoka, and it seems that Uzoka was annoyed by Koh because the less-successful Koh attempted to copy Uzoka and, indeed, some said that they looked alike.
“Uzoka was also annoyed because Koh made contact with some of Uzoka’s friends. Such conduct can at times be irritating but the effect on Uzoka was no more than that and there is no suggestion that the two were in any sense at war with each other or anything like that.
“But something changed, something caused that relationship to change and it was a woman.”
Both men knew Annecetta Lafon, a French model, through Instagram, though she had met neither in real life. In December 2017, she visited London and stayed at Koh’s home in Camden. Horwell said Lafon was “surprised to discover that Koh had something of an obsession with Uzoka”.
The prosecutor continued: “Koh claimed that he knew Uzoka well and then said that he had had sex with Uzoka’s girlfriend, and that that was the reason the two men no longer talked. Koh then added that Uzoka was a bad man and a liar. And so, it seemed that admiration for another model had turned to contempt.”
By 8 January, Lafon met the Nigerian model for the first time, and stayed two nights at his Shepherd’s Bush home. Horwell said Lafon told Uzoka about Koh’s claims to have slept with his girlfriend, a model called Ruby Campbell.
Uzoka was stunned, the court heard. “Uzoka showed Lafon some Instagram messages in which he had implored Koh to stop copying him and to stop talking to his friends,” Horwell told the jury. “Uzoka described Koh as a fake and said that he wanted to have it out with Koh, face to face.”
By 11 January, the row continued and barely 100 minutes before the attack, Koh sent Uzoka an Instagram message which read: “Where you? I’ll come there. We can fight. Bring your friends with you.” Minutes later Uzoka replied, telling Koh he was in Shepherd’s Bush, where he lived.
Koh went with two friends, Jonathan Okigbo and Merse Dikanda, who had a machete. All three defendants are aged 24 and deny murder. Horwell said Uzoka had gone with a friend, Adrian Harper, and the two were soon overwhelmed and both fled. Horwell described the dumbbells as “bars” as he addressed the jury.