The first picture of an Ivorian fugitive wanted in connection with the murder of an aspiring lawyer has been released online.
Lior Agbayan, 20, remains on the run in the West African nation two and a half years after Sven Badzak, 22, was knifed to death in a case of mistaken identity as he walked back from Waitrose after buying some orange juice.
Rashid Gedel, 22, and Shiroh Ambersley, 23, were yesterday each jailed for a minimum of 27 years after being found guilty of murder and a knife attack on Mr. Badzak’s friend, 16, in Kilburn, north-west London, in February 2021.
But Agbayan, the son of a diplomat, remains in the Ivory Coast as there is no extradition agreement with Britain. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Extradition experts said an ad hoc deal could in theory be struck that could bring the suspect to the UK to face justice, but warned this could take years and his father could attempt to frustrate attempts using his political connections
He boarded a plane to Paris then flew to the Ivory Coast in March 2021, the month after Mr Badzak was stabbed to death in the street, sources said.
Agbayan’s father is a respected diplomat who was once based in London but now works out of the Ivorian embassy in Burkina Faso.
Dr Anna Bradshaw, a partner at law firm Peters & Peters, said the lack of an extradition treaty between the two nations did not mean it was impossible to bring Agbayan back to the UK, but there had to be sufficient ‘political will’.
‘If there is appetite to spend the time and resources not just finding him but then negotiating an ad hoc extradition agreement with the Ivory Coast then it cannot be ruled out,’ she said.
If Ivorian authorities agreed to cooperate then proceedings in Africa would have to take place, which could be a protracted process that could take years before a judge eventually grants extradition.
An Interpol red notice against Agbayan would mean that if he travelled to another nation the authorities would be notified and the UK would be informed of his whereabouts.
International law specialist Toby Cadman KC said that though Agbayan’s political connections should have no legal influence on the process, in practice he may be able to exert influence and frustrate proceedings.
‘There must be a way, and I will not stop pestering the Metropolitan Police until all six are behind bars,’ she said.
Dr Badzak said she was in talks with the Crown Prosecution Service about the possibility of ever bringing Agbayan back to Britain to face justice.
The CPS could neither confirm nor deny whether it was working on the case.
‘I will do everything within my power to fight to make sure this man faces British justice,’ Dr Badzak said.
‘Three of Sven’s killers have now faced justice and my sole purpose in life is to make sure the rest of them do.’
A Met police spokesman said: ‘Officers have made a number of arrests, in addition to those convicted of Mr Badzak’s murder and the inquiry continues.
‘Officers are determined to bring all those responsible for the death of Sven Badzak to justice.’
Gedel and Ambersley laughed and joked in the dock yesterday when they were they were each jailed for 27 years.
Judge John Dodd KC reprimanded Gedel for snickering, telling him: ‘I really don’t understand how you can find something funny or amusing, I really don’t.’
The pair’s accomplice, Harvey Canavan, 19, who watched the sentencing remotely from HMP Belmarsh, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after admitting manslaughter and unlawful wounding before the killers’ trial began.
Extradition expert Toby Cadman KC said that if there is a refusal to extradite then there is a possibility that Agbayan could be prosecuted in the Ivory Coast with assistance from the British authorities.
‘There is a precedent for that in a 2019/20 prosecution of three Pakistani nationals prosecuted in Pakistan for a murder that took place in London,’ he said.
‘This would of course require political will from both sides.’
There have been examples of individuals being extradited from the Ivory Coast to Europe.