West Bromwich murder suspect 'locked flat and threw away key after killing'

By Marion Brennan | West Bromwich | Crime | Published:

A pizza shop worker admitted fleeing a flat after fatally stabbing his boss knowing he might still be alive, a court heard.

Masoud Esmailian, pictured, was allegedly murdered by Andrei Ilie

Andrei Ilie, 22, claimed to have killed Masoud Esmailian in self-defence after he threatened him with a knife and tried to sexually assault him.

He stabbed the 46-year-old in the chest in the bedroom of the businessman's West Bromwich flat and covered him in a blanket while he searched the premises.

Under cross-examination at Birmingham Crown Court, Ilie said that the victim, a father-of-two, was 'wriggling' as he covered him but that he was too confused and panic-stricken to call for an ambulance.

He then scoured the apartment in Montgomery Walk, robbing cash from Mr Esmailian, it is alleged, before leaving the property, locking the front door and throwing away the key.

"When I left the room he was still moving, at that moment he was still alive," admitted Romanian-born Ilie.

"And you did nothing to get medical help for him?" asked prosecutor Mr Michael Burrows, QC. "You locked the door on a man who might still be alive and threw away the key?"

Ilie replied: "I didn't know how injured he was. I was panicking."

The defendant's footsteps were all over the flat, including a chest of drawers which it is alleged he stood on to rifle through presents stored on top of a wardrobe for Mr Esmailian's forthcoming birthday.


Ilie admitted exchanging his blood-soaked trainers for new trainers he found in one of the boxes but he insisted the box was already open.

He told the jury he was not intending to rob Mr Esmailian, who had given him a job earlier that day, but was searching the flat for his own belongings – a phone, wallet and bus pass – which he claimed the victim had removed from his hoodie.

Asked whether he took cash from Mr Esmailian, Ilie said: "I can't remember exactly whether I took money or not for sure."

He said he used a blue top that one of Mr Esmailian's sons had bought him for his birthday to clean up blood.


He was also challenged about discrepancies between the evidence he had given in court and a confession he made from prison in a letter to his aunt. Ilie denied lying in the witness box, adding that he did not tell his family everything in detail.

The alleged murder took place on the night of August 28, 2015, after Mr Esmailian had closed the shop in Dudley Road, Ladywood, and offered to give Ilie a lift home.

Following the stabbing, the defendant, who was 19 at the time, returned to his lodgings in Winson Green and took a coach from Birmingham later that day for Romania. He was arrested two days after his arrival.

Ilie, of no fixed address, denies murder and robbery. The trial continues.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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