Caged for life
TWO ruthless henchmen who murdered the sitting tenant living in a warehouse earmarked for a �3 million development have been jailed for life. Ylli Xhelo, 36, from Edmonton, and Robert Baxhija, 30, from Palmers Green, both in north London, killed Charal
TWO ruthless henchmen who murdered the sitting tenant living in a warehouse earmarked for a �3 million development have been jailed for life.
Ylli Xhelo, 36, from Edmonton, and Robert Baxhija, 30, from Palmers Green, both in north London, killed Charalambos Christodoulides in his flat, which was within the disused building in Banister Road, Kilburn, in March 2000.
The pair had been following the orders of Thanos Papalexis, a property developer who had wanted to buy the warehouse from the victim's brother-in-law Michael Lantis so he could convert it into luxury apartments.
Papalexis was jailed for life last September after being extradited from Florida in America.
The 37-year-old had carved out a new life as a 'playboy' and mingled with well-known personalities including Hillary and Bill Clinton.
The Old bailey heard Xhelo and Baxhija tied Mr Christodoulides to a chair before beating and strangling him.
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His body had been doused in paint stripper, wrapped in a bedsheet and covered by cardboard boxes, before being dumped in an inspection pit in the garage area.
Several days after the murder, Mr Christodoulides's concerned family reported him as missing causing Mr Lantis to call off the sale and demanded his keys to the warehouse.
This resulted in the collapse of Papalexis' company so he went to the Maldives before moving on to the US.
Officers looking into Mr Christodoulides disappearance visited the warehouse but failed to find his body.
The grim discovery was made following a more detailed search nine days after he was reported missing.
Xhelo and Baxhija, who were both refugees, were deported before they were connected to the murder but returned to the country in 2008 confident that they would not be traced, even though they had left fingerprints in blood at the scene.
Rebecca DeFalco, a former porn actress and prostitute and Papalexis' former lover, gave evidence against all three in the witness box.
She told the court Papalexis had confessed to the murder.
Xhelo and Baxhija had denied murder but said Papalexis had forced them to clear up the scene at gunpoint.
Detective Inspector, Brent Hyatt, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: "I hope this verdict goes some way to achieving justice for Charalambos and closure for his family."
Xhelo must serve a minimum of 17 years and Baxhijia must serve at least 15.