Beds, Herts & Bucks

Joy Morgan: Student midwife 'family', says murder accused

Joy Morgan Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption Joy Morgan was a student midwife at the University of Hertfordshire

A man accused of murdering a midwifery student considered her "100% part of the family", a court heard.

Joy Morgan, 20, from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, was last seen on 26 December at church in east London, and was reported missing on 7 February.

Shohfah-El Israel and his wife had been given advice by Ms Morgan as they tried for a baby, a jury at Reading Crown Court was told.

Mr Israel, 40, and of Cricklewood in north London, denies murder.

Mr Israel and Ms Morgan were both worshippers at the Israel United in Christ church in Ilford, which Mr Israel joined through his wife Chindu Israel.

He told the court the couple would often give the student lifts to church in their red Honda.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Ms Morgan's house keys were found in Shohfah-El Israel's car when it was searched by police, the court has previously heard

'Ritualistic killing'

He married his wife in 2016 but her family did not approve of the relationship, he said, and they had had to move house repeatedly.

He claimed there had been a "ritualistic killing" of a pigeon outside their home and the brakes of his car had been cut.

On another occasion, police came to their home and tried to arrest Mr Israel for his wife's "murder" when she was not at home, he told the court.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Ms Morgan was seen dancing and smiling at a church celebration in Ilford, London, on 26 December

"They said her family was looking for her and I explained to the police that her family wanted to force her into an arranged marriage," Mr Israel said.

"They feared harm had come to her and they were going to arrest me," he added.

He eventually reached his wife on the phone who told officers "she was alive".

The court has previously heard Mr Israel initially told police he dropped Ms Morgan off in Hatfield after the church event on 26 December.

He later told officers he had brought her back to his flat, where she stayed for two nights on the sofa, and later took her back to Hatfield late on 28 December. He says that was the last time he saw her.

The trial continues.

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