Man found guilty of E17 murder

A man has been convicted of the murder of a man whose body was discovered in a Walthamstow park in August 2020.

Richard Michael Hand 43, of Falmouth Way, Waltham Forest, was convicted of the murder of Yassar Moussa after a two-week trial at the Old Bailey.

He was also convicted of the attempted murder of another man, who he attacked with an axe in January last year, and was also convicted of being in possession of an offensive weapon in relation to that offence.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday, October 19.

The court heard Hand was arrested on August 29 after 37-year-old Mr Moussa’s body was discovered in undergrowth near a brook in St James Park, E17 five days earlier.

A post-mortem examination held August 25 found the official cause of death to be a stab wound to the neck.

An investigation was launched by homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command and it was established that Yassar last communicated with his friends on August 22.

CCTV revealed he had travelled to Falmouth Way, the location of Hand’s home address that day. Yassar’s phone records also showed he spoke to Hand that day.

After he was arrested, a search of Hand’s home address revealed Yassar’s bloodstained clothing in some communal bins outside, as well as a bent knife and a substantial amount of cleaning material, including a number of bottles of bleach.

Inside there was also a strong smell of bleach and DNA swabs from a leather sofa were matched to Mr Moussa.

Hand was charged with murder on August 30.

The murder took place when Hand was on bail for the attempted murder of a 56-year-old man who he hit on the head with an axe at an address in Fortrose Gardens, SW2, on January 29, 2020.

The court heard Hand, who was friends with the victim, had hit him over the back of the head in a completely unprovoked attack.

The victim suffered a fractured skull, two deep cuts on the back of his head and a deep cut to his hand.

Hand was arrested and charged with this offence on 30 January 2020 and he appeared in custody at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court the next day.

He was remanded in custody until he was released on bail after a hearing at the Old Bailey on July 22, 2020.

Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith, the lead investigator, said: “Richard Hand is a dangerous man who has launched two unprovoked attacks on men who thought they were his friends.

“I am glad he has now been brought to justice and is likely to be sentenced to serve a significant portion of the rest of his life in jail.”

Mick Ferris

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