Vincenzo Tavano
Vincenzo Tavano, 33, of Park Lane, Poynton, has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 17 years, for murder.Greater Manchester Police

A waiter strangled his restaurant manager to death in a row over drugs before stealing his "mentor's" bank cards and Jaguar car and going on a spending spree.

Giorgio Roncari had the life "squeezed" out of him by friend of four years Vincenzo Tavano, who was trying to buy drugs before they began arguing.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Tavano, 33, put a plastic bag over Roncari's head strangling him to death in his riverside apartment in Salford, Greater Manchester on Saturday (15 April) this year.

Tavano, of Park Lane, in Poynton, Cheshire, admitted murder, fraud by false representation and taking a vehicle without consent and has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years.

Roncari was manager at the trendy Italian restaurant Avalanche in Manchester which had celebrity clientele such as footballers Frank Lampard and Robin van Persie.

But the 60-year-old was also leading a double life as a cocaine dealer and had sold drugs to Milan-born Tavano, who worked as a waiter.

When Tavano ran up a debt with Roncari he was refused more drugs and when the older man confronted him about the debt he owed, the defendant grabbed him by the throat and choked him to death.

Tavano claimed to have put a plastic bag on his head to see whether the former cruise ship entertainer was still breathing before taking his wallet, cards and keys to his car.

He then used the dead man's bank cards at least 18 times in stores and online the court heard how Tavano even unsuccessfully tried to buy an iPhone, reported the Manchester Evening News.

Roncari, also known as Giuseppe, was found dead in his flat on 17 April and eight days later Tavano was arrested and despite answering "no comment" to questions, later fully admitted his involvement.

Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said: "Tavano's anger fuelled his actions that night, taking a man's life over a dispute.

"The immoral and opportunist behaviour he displayed after he murdered a man proves there is no place better for him than behind bars.

"Giorgio was a well-liked and popular man in Salford and will be terribly missed."