A woman has spoken of the horrific moment she heard her boyfriend stabbed to death as they spoke on the phone, as he made his way home from work.
Tyler Roye died in a botched robbery as he got off a tram following his later shift at the Holiday Inn in Stratford, London.
He was cornered by 24-year-old Samuel Odupitan on February 26, who stabbed him six times before robbing him of his designer bag.
Mr Roye, who worked as a concierge, had just answered a phone call from his girlfriend Jaiya Williams when Odupitan confronted him.
Ms Williams had to listen as Odupitan attacked her 24-year-old boyfriend, who then stumbled to a friend’s house but collapsed and died in hospital a few hours later, MyLondon reports.
Odupitan was jailed for a minimum term of 30 years at Croydon Crown Court on Monday, with a judge saying he stabbed Tyler for his “eye-catching Gucci bag”.
In an impact statement read at the sentencing hearing, Miss Williams said: “I was forced to hear it. To know I was the last person he spoke to pains me every day.
“To know I was on the other end of the phone while this vicious attack took place is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life and will probably never get over.
“I could tell he was scared and in trouble, I called him a hundred times that night. The last time I heard his voice, he was pleading for his life. That’s all I can hear now over and over again.”
The 22-year-old added: “The last time I saw my boyfriend he was in a mortuary.
“If he (Odupitan) just asked for whatever was wanted, Tyler would have just given it up, but that chance was taken away from him and in turn he was taken away from us.”
Odupitan was identified using CCTV and arrested on March 1 at his home – less than a mile away from where the attack took place.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said Odupitan “habitually carried a knife” which he used “opportunistically” to rob people of high-value goods.
The court heard Odupitan has four previous convictions for 10 different offences, two of which are for possession of a knife.
During the trial, he also admitted four counts of robbery between September 5 and October 20 last year, and was handed sentences totalling 26-and-a-half years to be served concurrent to the murder.
Tyler’s dad Derrick Roye also provided a statement to the court, describing how his life “had been devastated on every level of existence”.
He said: “My son was my good friend, my mate, and to know that his life was taken away from us in such an evil way has traumatised my family.
“He was the life and soul of our home. He was ambitious, he was kind, he loved to bring out the best of other people.
“Some days I wish not to wake up. The loss of my son is my very deep pain and I do not know if it will ever go away.”
Tyler’s mother Cecilia Smith, 45, said she brought up Tyler and his sister as a single parent and the trio were “like the three musketeers”.
She said: “I was so proud of my son and the man he was becoming. I could tell even he was beginning to become proud of himself and look to make a positive future for himself.
“My son has got a clean heart and was truly just a big softy. The impact of losing Tyler has caused severe stress and sadness amongst us all.
“The moment I start to process what has actually happened I begin to break down. If I were to sit still and actually think about what happened, my heart would stop beating”.
Ms Smith said she has left Tyler’s childhood bedroom “untouched”, thinking “one day I will open the door and he will just be there”.
Passing sentence, the Recorder of Croydon, Judge Alison Robinson said: “The loss of Tyler Rowe has been devastating causing sleepless nights, distress and unbearable grief.
“It was particularly traumatic to his girlfriend to know she heard his last words on the phone as he was attacked, pleading with the defendant.”