29 May 2024 08:40 Man guilty of murder in Southwark following swift forensic work A man has been found guilty of murdering Riches Obi in Southwark in 2020.

A man has been found guilty of murder and false imprisonment after detailed forensic analysis led to the swift identification of him and two others involved in the crime.

Following a trial at the Old Bailey which concluded on Tuesday, 28 May, Jurick Croes, 38 (11.10.85) of no fixed address was found guilty of murdering Riches Obi and the false imprisonment of a woman.

Rachell Felomina, 40 (18.08.83) of no fixed abode, was found guilty of false imprisonment and Suvenca Martis, 34 (26.07.89), of Panmure Road, Lewisham, was found guilty of false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

Despite Croes and Felomina leaving the scene immediately after the offence, officers worked closely with overseas law enforcement agencies and both were arrested and extradited to face trial.

All three will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, 2 July.

An investigation was launched after officers were called to Riches home address in Harper Road, Southwark on Tuesday, 17 November 2020 and found the door partially open. On entering the property, they found Riches lying on the floor, with stab and slash wounds. Despite the efforts of paramedics who had rushed to the flat, Riches was pronounced dead at the scene.

When an officer called out to see if anyone else was in the house, they heard a woman reply “I’m here”. Following her voice, officers went through the flat until they found her in a bedroom, bound with cable ties. A scarf was tied around her neck and looked as though it had been used as a gag.

On searching the property, officers found a bag of cable ties, identical to the ones used to bind the woman. The ties contained a price tag to a nearby hardware store; when officers attended they viewed CCTV and identified Martis as the person who purchased them. Further CCTV analysis showed her driving away from the shop in a rented vehicle which detectives later established she had hired for the days spanning the murder.

After she was arrested later that month, detectives seized Martis’ phone. Its contents were analysed and showed she had various communications and messages linking her to Felomina and Croes – this included ferry times showing them arriving from Holland prior to the murder, then fleeing on the same ferry on the night of 17 November. The phone also revealed Martis had been searching for heavy duty duct tape the night before the murder and news of the murder in the aftermath of the attack.

Forensic analysis was to prove key in showing Felomina and Croes’s role in the incident. Two knives had been recovered from the flat, both of which had been used to attack Riches; forensics found DNA on both weapons matched Felomina and Croes. Other items found inside the address, including envelopes and the cable ties revealed traces of DNA from both men. DNA from Croes was also found on a black baseball hat that had been discarded in the bedroom of the flat.

When the hire car Martis had used was seized and examined, Croes’s blood was found inside the vehicle.

Detectives traced Felomina to Holland and he was arrested and extradited back to the UK in November 2021.

Croes managed to flee to Colombia but was arrested in February 2022; his extradition took 18 months but he was returned to the UK to face trial.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Webb from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command led the investigation and said:

“While it has never been comprehensively established why Riches Obi was attacked and killed in such a horrifying manner in his own home, it is thought that the three suspects were involved in some way in a money making scam with the woman they targeted.

“Whether Riches tried to intervene is not known, but it is clear he was subjected to a sustained and violent assault.

“Thanks to fast-time and diligent police work, we were able to identify Martis as playing a key role in the preparation for this attack. Her arrest led us to identify Felomina and Croes’s role and, despite their efforts to evade capture by fleeing the country, they could not escape the consequences of what they had done. I hope this conviction demonstrates to those engaged in significant criminality, international borders are not a barrier and UK Law Enforcement will utilise the repertoire of international co-operation tools available to bring offenders to justice.

“Our thoughts remain with Riches family who have been made to endure a significant wait to see justice done. I only hope that these convictions can allow them to begin to move on in some way.”