London

Celine Dookhran murder: Man 'inspired by acid bath killer'

Celine Dookhran Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Celine Dookhran was found dead in an empty house in Kingston Upon Thames

A man accused of murdering and raping a woman was "inspired" by an infamous acid bath killer, a court has heard.

Mujahid Arshid allegedly came across serial killer John George Haigh as he searched for ways to dispose of the bodies, jurors were told.

Celine Dookhran, 20, was found dead on 19 July in an empty house in Kingston, south London.

Mr Arshid is also accused of the rape and attempted murder of a woman in her 20s who cannot be identified.

The 33-year-old builder, along with co-defendant Vincent Tappu, are jointly charged with the kidnap of Ms Dookhran and the second woman, conspiracy to falsely imprison both women, and possessing a firearm with intent, namely a Taser.

The pair, on trial at the Old Bailey, both deny all charges.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Vincent Tappu (left) and Mujahid Arshid in the dock of the Old Bailey

Jurors were told Barclays bank worker Ms Dookhran was found "stuffed" in a freezer, with her throat cut in three places, at a house Mr Arshid was renovating in Kingston.

The other woman managed to escape and was able to alert police.

It was heard in court on Friday that following his arrest at a Holiday Inn in Folkestone, police examined Mr Arshid's laptops and found pictures of both victims.

A bank payment to Mr Tappu in the days before the killing was also discovered.

Internet searches included "chest freezers for sale", "at what temperature does the human body freeze" and "can a person freeze to death".

Image caption The women were put in the boot of a vehicle and driven to an empty six-bedroom house in Kingston

Mr Arshid also allegedly researched strong pain killers, sulphuric acid, and searched online for "acid bath murderer".

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors it led to a Wikipedia page about John George Haigh, who was hanged in 1949 for murdering six people and disposing of their remains in different ways, including in baths filled with acid.

Haigh was known in "infamy" as the acid bath killer, Mr Aylett told the court.

He said Mr Arshid was "inspired" by Haigh to set up a new Google email address ineedanacidbath@space.com.

Mr Arshid looked into "human cremation" and "butchering the human carcass" and allegedly viewed a YouTube video entitled "Woman cut throat", jurors were told.

Image copyright UNKNOWN
Image caption Mujahid Arshid (left) and Vincent Tappu are charged with the kidnap of Ms Dookhran and the second woman

A post-mortem examination found Ms Dookhran had tape wrapped around her mouth and a sock rammed inside, reducing her ability to breathe.

Ms Dookhran had three cuts to the neck, slicing through her voice box and died from the combined effect of blood loss and obstruction to the airways.

Mr Arshid, of no fixed address, and Mr Tappu, 28, of Spencer Road, Acton, west London, deny kidnap, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm with intent.

Mr Arshid has also pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder, rape of both women and the previous sexual assault and assault by penetration of the surviving woman when she was about 13.

The trial continues.

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