LONDON – A man on trial for the brutal murder of two French university students in their London flat admitted on Wednesday to carrying out a burglary at the property, while still denying the murder charge.
Daniel Dano Sonnex, 23, pleaded guilty to the burglary as he appeared alongside co-defendant Nigel Farmer, 34, to face trial at the Old Bailey in London. Farmer denies any theft charges.
The two men are alleged to have repeatedly stabbed Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo, both 23, and set fire to their bodies at the students’ rented flat in the tough south London district of New Cross in June last year.
The jury was told that Sonnex had pleaded guilty to a single count of burglary which took place on the day of the murder and at the same address.
It relates to the theft of a bank card, credit card, two Sony PSP games consoles and two mobile phones.
Both defendants deny murdering the students and charges of false imprisonment and arson.
Sonnex and Farmer are alleged to have held the two victims captive at the flat before killing them and setting fire to the property.
The victims, second-year students from Clermont-Ferrand in central France, were nearing the end of a three-month research placement studying DNA at Imperial College when they were killed.
The first full day of evidence will be heard on Friday.
The victims’ parents were in court, accompanied by an interpreter.
A lawyer representing the parents said they were prepared for a harrowing trial.
The first days will be very, very, very hard because evidence will come out which in my view will be unpleasant to see, Marie-Claire Sparrow told journalists outside the court.