Labourer found guilty of murdering foreman on London site

30 June 2021 | Construction

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A labourer has been found guilty of murdering the foreman of a site they were working on together in 2018.

Elton Sefa, 24, was found guilty of murdering John Woodward (pictured), 47, in a trial at the Old Bailey that followed a “complex and protracted” investigation and a Europe-wide manhunt.

Sefa had worked with Woodward for a number of months on various sites. The court heard he had used the false name ‘Frankie’ and other fake personal details to get his job.

The pair were working on a project in Hatton Garden, London, when, on 17 April 2018, Sefa bludgeoned Woodward with a metal scaffolding pole and left him to die on the fourth floor of the site.

Sefa fled the scene and later that evening boarded a flight to Amsterdam before travelling on to his home country, Albania. Nearly a year later, on 28 Feb 2019, with the help of Albanian authorities in the city of Durres, Sefa was arrested. It took another year for the international extradition request to be granted. He was brought back to the UK in January 2020 to face trial for murder.

The jury were told that it may never be clear what Sefa’s intentions were. However, the investigation brought to light that Sefa had challenged his weekly pay and Woodward had taken up his query with the company. The pay was confirmed to be correct. A report from another colleague described stirrings of tension between the two – the day before the murder, Woodward had been annoyed that Sefa had cleared their tools early.

Sefa’s lawyers argued for diminished responsibility owing to his psychiatric state, but this was rejected by the court.

Metropolitan Police detective inspector James Howarth, who led the investigation thanked everyone involved for their efforts in what he described as “a complex and protracted investigation”.

He added: “John was a loving and caring family man and supervisor who was attacked in the cowardly manner by the man who John had overseen for the previous seven months. Elton Sefa has refused to say why he attacked John in such a brutal and frenzied way and that has only added to the distress for John’s family.”

Elton Sefa will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday 8 July 2021.

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