Beds, Herts & Bucks

Joy Morgan death: 'No DNA link' to man accused of murdering student

Joy Morgan Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Joy Morgan was a second year midwifery student at the University of Hertfordshire

There is no forensic evidence linking a man with a missing student that he is accused of killing, a court has heard.

Joy Morgan, 20, from Hatfield, was last seen on 26 December and was reported missing on 7 February, but her body has never been found.

Jurors at Reading Crown Court were told there was no "forensic evidence" linking Ms Morgan to Shohfah-El Israel - who is accused of murder.

Mr Israel, of Cricklewood in north London, denies the charge.

The 40-year-old and Ms Morgan were both worshippers at the Israel United in Christ church in Ilford, which Mr Israel joined through his wife Chindu Israel.

Ms Morgan was reported missing on 7 February when her flatmates became concerned.

Jurors previously heard that Mr Israel told police he had driven Ms Morgan to her home in Hatfield on 26 December. However, phone records suggested they were in Cricklewood, where he lived.

Mr Israel was first arrested on 9 February, and Ms Morgan's house keys were found in his car when it was searched by police, the court heard.

Prosecutors had described him as a "thoroughly dishonest and manipulative man".

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption The court heard Shohfah-El Israel used to give lifts to Joy Morgan in his red Honda car

His defence barrister Ed Brown QC told jurors that Mr Israel was "an intelligent man".

He said: "He wouldn't drive his unforgettable car - which was bright red - after committing a murder. He hasn't tried to conceal the car after allegedly transporting the body.

"There are no fingerprints, there is not one speck of blood - and this is a murder case. There is no trace of saliva. No scientific evidence of any sexual contact at all."

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

Mr Brown said Mr Israel had "no history of violence" and that the sexual motive was "merely speculation".

"Police followed Israel and searched extensively for evidence linking him to Joy and no forensic evidence was found," he added.

The trial continues.

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