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TRIAL UPDATE: Defendant accused of murdering Bushey resident ‘tried to perform CPR’, court hears

 Published on: 13th June 2023   |   By: Court Reporter   |   Category: Uncategorized

A defendant accused of being one of six people who murdered a “honeytrap” victim said he gave him CPR when he saw him unconscious on his bedroom floor.

Brandon Browne, 22, told a jury today (Tuesday, June 13) that he had gone to Vishal Gohel’s flat in Bushey, Herts only to steal, not to harm him.

In the witness box at St Albans Crown Court Browne, from Rochester, Kent said his co-defendant Tevin Leslie had told him they had an opportunity to make some money.

He said in a three-way conversation over a mobile phone one of the women defendants, Georgia Bruce-Annan, told them about Mr Gohel, who was being set up in a honey trap by her and two other women.

“Georgia was talking about a male she met online and they were going there for some sort of sex party. She said she met him online and he was divorced. She just said he liked spending money and having fun.”

“My understanding was that Mr Gohel was going to be occupied with the females while we were stealing,” he said.

He said he thought the theft was going to be worth “over 30 grand.”

Prosecutor Charlotte Newell KC earlier told the jury Vishal Gohel, 44, had been expecting to have sex, but ended up gagged and beaten when three male accomplices arrived to rob him.

She said that in the morning of Sunday, January 23, last year a neighbour saw Mr Gohel’s front door was ajar and kitchen light was on.

When the neighbour returned to the second floor of the flats on Bushey High Street, Herts at 10pm he noticed the door was still open and decided to check.

She said he knocked on the door and went in to make a “horrifying discovery.”

“Mr Gohel was lifeless on the floor of the bedroom. Gaffer tape was round the lower part of his face. A post-mortem examination found he had suffered a significant blow or blows to the head.

“Both sides of his face were injured. There was internal bruising to his scalp, eyes jaw.

“There was brain damage and his voice box had been fractured, consistent with squeezing of the neck.”

The prosecutor said the second-floor flat had been tidied in an effort to clean the scene. Mr Gohel’s iphone and iwatch had been taken.

She said he was the victim of a “honeytrap” where three women had gained access on the promise of sexual liaisons that never happened. They allegedly gained entry to allow the males in to steal property.

Six defendants deny murder. The males are Tevin Leslie, 23, of Hurst Street, Brixton, London; Sakeen Gordon, 22, of Uxbridge Road, Ealing; Brandon Browne, 22, of Laburnham Road, Rochester, Kent.

The three female defendants are Yarley Georgia Bruce-Annan, 22, of Harts Lane in Barking; Tiana Edwards Hancock, 20, of Fresh Wharf Road, Barking; and Faith Hoppie, 22, of Blake Avenue, Barking.

Ms Newell told the jury that Tevin Leslie has admitted the manslaughter of Mr Gohel and conspiracy to rob him.

The other five defendants deny those charges.

The jury heard the victim had been in contact with Bruce-Annan on Saturday, January 22, on Craig’s List – an online market website where goods and services are offered.

The female defendants had left Barking in a cab, that cost £42.75, and arrived in Bushey at 1am in the morning.

The men arrived at the scene in Tervin Leslie’s Audi at 25 past two in the morning. Browne had been picked up in Bromley. Leslie then drove onto Ealing to pick up Gordon, who is his cousin.

“It was the culmination of a plan that had been brewing throughout the day,” said Ms Newell.

Earlier Mr Gohel had been recorded on CCTV at a convenience store near his home at twenty-five past ten at night where he bought alcohol, soft drinks, cigarettes, and condoms.

He had borrowed £100 in cash from his mother, who lived nearby, and also withdrew £100 from a cash machine.

The prosecutor said he had been seen on CCTV wearing the iWatch. This was missing when his body was found. She said the watch, the £200 cash and his iphone were stolen.

“No attempts had been made to contact the emergency services, but there had been efforts had been made to clean the flat. He was dead or dying when they left the flat. There was no attempt to provide assistance to him,” said the prosecutor.

Brandon Browne told the jury he had met Leslie when he was a construction student at Lambeth College. He agreed his only previous conviction was as a juvenile for dangerous driving and other motoring offences on one occasion. He said he had no convictions for dishonesty or violence

He admitted he was in the flat when Mr Gohel lost his life having gone there to steal.

But he said he had no intention to violence against him or anyone else.

When he went into the victim’s bedroom he said: “He was on left side lying on the floor by the bed. I believe he was unconscious. I tried to perform CPR on Mr Gohel.”

Asked if he had seen what happened to Mr Gohel, he replied: “No.”

The trial continues.

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