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Robbery defendant: I did not attack lone women

PUBLISHED: 16:21 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:15 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey A MAN accused of 16 strangulation robberies on wealthy lone women across London has told a court of his battle with crack cocaine prompted by failed relationship. Matthew Mykoo, 27, denies robbing the women, including Hampstead fashion mogu

Susanna Wilkey

A MAN accused of 16 strangulation robberies on wealthy lone women across London has told a court of his battle with crack cocaine prompted by failed relationship.

Matthew Mykoo, 27, denies robbing the women, including Hampstead fashion mogul Nicole Farhi, between March 13 and June 20 last year.

He was allegedly part of a team of strangler-robbers whose targets included a BBC reporter from Belsize Park and a teacher at Quintin Kynaston School in St John's Wood. His brother Daniel Mykoo has already admitted to 16 counts of robbery.

Mykoo, of Windsor Road, Brent, has admitted to two robberies and pawning stolen jewellery for his brother to fund his spiralling drug habit but denies these 16 offences.

He told Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday: "Just before my arrest, I was severely under the influence of drugs. I had a failed relationship with a girl. I had never experienced that before and I dealt with it badly. I started to drink and then smoke crack cocaine again around December. It led to me getting in deeper and deeper and I realised I was addicted."

Having grown up with his brother Daniel, Mykoo said the pair had become distant in adulthood because of his brother's "serious drug problem which resulted in him having psychological issues".

They met again after bumping into each other at a drug dealer's house in late 2007 and bonded because they had both suffered failed relationships, the jury heard.

"I was getting cannabis and he was getting crack cocaine and I was going to my ex-girlfriend's but we walked together to the bus stop first," Matthew said. "We both started smoking and he offered me the crack cocaine and I accepted.

"I was trying to move on with my life. But we had both had problems with a failed relationship and, from that point on, he would come and smoke with me. I believed he funded his habit through criminal activity - all sorts of crimes."

Matthew Mykoo told the jury he started to buy drugs for his brother and pawn jewellery because his brother was vulnerable and was getting ripped off.

"I did not want to get roped into this kind of lifestyle," he said.

"I started to buy drugs for him because he is very vulnerable and was getting ripped off. And I bought some for me to smoke myself. I lost self-respect and self-esteem.

"I paid for the drugs from the proceeds of crime. I have always been aware my brother was involved in criminal activities.

"I sold jewellery for my brother and I would get the right price for it and make money for both of us. That was how I funded my habit. I did commit two robberies to fund my crack cocaine habit when I was at my worst."

Matthew Mykoo has three previous convictions for robbery in 1997, 1998 and 2000. When he was released from prison in 2005, he vowed to life a different life.

He said of the first two offences: "At that point in my life, I had been kicked out of school and I gave up on that kind of lifestyle and trying to achieve something though the legal system.

"I was involved with drugs and it was a very negative lifestyle. It was the same when I came out of the young offenders' institute.

"I came out of prison in 2005 when I was 23 and I had had a lot of thoughts about the way I was living my life.

"I was really upset to receive such a long custodial sentence and in prison I attended a lot of courses. I came out and decided to live a completely different lifestyle."

The trial continues.

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