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‘Nice guy’ adviser who bludgeoned client to death

Jeffs, a 36-year-old certified financial planner for Surrey-based wealth manager HFM Columbus, was sentenced to life imprisonment on 10 December 2013 for the murder of Mr Troyan, and the theft of almost £350,000 from his 63-year-old client.

Such was the force of the three violent blows that Jeffs inflicted on his client, police initially thought Mr Troyan had been shot.

The vicious and calculating murder was believed to have taken less than 15 minutes, and was in sharp contrast to Jeffs’ outward demeanour, with a former boss calling him a “nice guy” who was happy to laugh at his own expense.

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A spokesman for his most recent employer HFM Columbus added that he was an “ordinary, mild-mannered, unassuming and modest man”, who undertook considerable charity work. But he was also someone who lied about his qualifications, culminating in a warning by HFM in 2012.

Jeffs was born on 29 January 1977 at Edgware General Hospital in Hendon, London, to mother Joyce and father Robert, an ambulance driver.

After a period living in a humble flat at Westhorne Gardens in Edgware, he eventually moved with his parents to Peterborough.

Jeffs’ teenage and student years were spent in a modest semi-detached house on Abbey Road in Peterborough, in a stable family home with his parents and brother Paul. He attended the now defunct Walton Comprehensive, a mixed secondary school, which closed in 2007.

Jeffs would regularly return home to his family while attending Brunel University, where he studied film and TV. He graduated in 2000, eventually moving out of his parents’ home in 2002.

He eventually settled in Woking, Surrey, with his first wife, Laura, the mother of his six-year-old son, and was employed as a paraplanner at London-based advisory firm Cavendish Ware in 2004.

His marriage came under strain after his first wife suffered bad health, but his boss at the time never saw any signs of violence.

Adrian Ware, Jeffs’ former chief executive at Cavendish Ware, called him a “capable guy, very confident” and an “interesting character”, who was eventually promoted to trainee investment adviser level in 2005 and a full investment adviser in 2006.

Indeed, Jeffs was known to laugh along with jokes at his expense at Cavendish Ware, with Mr Ware noting a running joke between him and his colleagues that centred on how his wife – who was then working for a large consultancy firm – would earn the money while he would spend it. He said: “He had a James Bond image of himself, but he always took the joke in good spirits.”

Signs

But early signs of his eventual downfall were becoming evident. While not being outwardly greedy, his former boss said Jeffs could be described as a “materialistic and vain man”, who “liked living the high life” and, despite being married, had a “sizeable ego, fancied himself as a ladies’ man and definitely liked the idea that others would see him as ‘a player’”.

This was borne out by his attendance at high-end strip joints, such as Spearmint Rhino, which he visited on his stag night.