A young woman was raped and murdered by her “obsessed” uncle before her body was padlocked in a deep freezer, a court heard.
Celine Dookhran, 20, was kidnapped along with a second woman by Mujahid Arshid, 33, and his employee Vincent Tappu, 28, who took them to a six-bedroom house that Arshid, a builder, had been working at, the Old Bailey heard.
There they were raped and their throats cut in what prosecutors described as a “horrific crime” on July 19, 2017.
Arshid considered dissolving the bodies in acid or hiding them in a chest-high freezer he installed two days before, it was claimed.
The second woman managed to survive and raised the alarm from hospital, leading to the discovery of Miss Dookhran’s body.
Opening the prosecution case, Crispin Aylett QC warned jurors: “The evidence that gives rise to those charges is, I am afraid, simply horrific. You will have to steel yourselves for what is to come.” Mr. Aylett said Arshid had become “obsessed” with Miss Dookhran but knew that she was having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend, a Libyan Muslim.
Realising she was “beyond his clutches,” he decided that if he could not have her, then “nobody else would,” and formulated a plan to kidnap her.
The prosecutor told the court that the night before the murder, a family meeting took place – attended by Arshid, who had armed himself with an axe – in which they urged Celine to end her relationship, wanting her to marry a Pakistani, not a Libyan.
The following day, on July 19, Arshid and his accomplice Tappu burst into Miss Dookhran’s room, stuffing socks into both women’s mouths, which they also covered with tape.
Their hands and feet were tied together and each of them was wrapped in a builder’s dust sheet.” Arshid scooped up clothes, underwear and phones to give the “entirely false” impression Miss Dookhran had run away, it was claimed.
Mr. Aylett said the women were taken from the house wrapped in dust sheets and put in the boot of Arshid’s pick up truck. Tappu played no further part, jurors were told. The court heard Arshid then took the second woman, in her 20s, upstairs and cut her throat, telling her she would be “dead within 10 minutes.” He put Celine’s body into the deep freezer and locked it with a padlock, but the second woman survived and was later taken to hospital, where she gave the police details who then found the house and Miss Dookhran’s body.
Arshid, of no fixed abode, was arrested the same night in Folkestone, Kent, where he had fled to.
He denies murder, attempted murder, two counts of kidnap, two counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to falsely imprison another, possessing a firearm with intent – a Taser.
He also denies one count of sexual assault, and one count of assault by penetration, involving the second woman between November 2008 and November 2010.