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Freezer body murder: Uncle jailed for Celine Dookhran rape and killing

image copyrightTwitter
image captionCeline Dookhran was found dead in an empty house in Kingston, south-west London

An uncle has been jailed for life for kidnapping, raping and slitting the throat of his niece before putting her body in a deep freezer.

Mujahid Arshid, 33, was found guilty of murdering Celine Dookhran, 20, and the attempted murder of a second woman.

Arshid, who will serve at least 40 years in prison, snatched the women in July before taking them to a house in Kingston, south west London.

His co-accused, Vincent Tappu, 28, was cleared of kidnapping charges.

Both defendants were cleared of possession of a firearm with intent for allegedly using a Taser during the abduction, which took place on 19 July 2017.

Arshid, of Homefield Gardens, Mitcham, has also been convicted of sexual assault charges against the second woman between 2008 and 2010.

  • Killer told police of rape plan before kidnap

Members of Ms Dookhran's family shouted "yes" when the verdicts were read out.

Arshid reacted by shouting that the surviving victim had "killed them all", while Mr Tappu - in tears - thanked the jury.

image copyrightMet Police
image captionMujahid Arshid denied raping and murdering his niece Celine Dookhran

The surviving victim took to the witness box to face Arshid and read her own victim impact statement.

She said "flashbacks and nightmares prevent me from moving on" and physical scarring from the attack is a "constant reminder of what Celine and I went through".

A statement from Ms Dookhran's mother Iman was read out, in which she said her daughter "fell victim to pure evil" and that "coming to terms with her death is likely to be a lifelong assignment".

"She will always be there in the darkness that surrounds us," the statement added.

image captionThe women were put in the boot of a vehicle and driven to an empty six-bedroom house in Kingston

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said Arshid was obsessed with his niece Ms Dookhran, who worked in a bank.

Arshid spent weeks planning to abduct and kill both women in a plot that was as "bizarre as it is terrible", Mr Aylett said.

While Mr Tappu was cleared of kidnap, Mr Justice Edis said he was "satisfied" a "second man" helped with the initial abduction.

media captionThe surviving victim's family said the crime was not an honour killing

The court heard there had been unhappiness in Ms Dookhran's family about a relationship she was in and that she had been staying at a property occupied by Mr Arshid after leaving home.

The evening before the murder there had been a family meeting attended by Mr Arshid during which pressure was placed on Ms Dookhran and her boyfriend to end their association, jurors heard.

At the empty six-bedroom house in Kingston, Arshid raped both women in turn before slashing Ms Dookhran's throat in the bathroom.

'Such a psycho'

The second woman, who cannot be identified, was badly injured but managed to escape after talking Arshid round.

Speaking to police from her hospital bed, she described hearing screams and thuds as Arshid killed Ms Dookhran while she was tied to a chair downstairs.

The woman fought for her life when Arshid turned on her, cutting her throat and wrists.

image copyrightJulia Quenzler
image captionIn court, the defendants watched a police interview the surviving woman gave from her hospital bed

She told officers: "He said: 'Now you've got 10 minutes to live and your body will shut down.' I was trying to play dead.

"He molested Celine's body while she was dead and then he molested me thinking I was dead. He's such a psycho.

"I sat up and he said: 'How have you got so much energy?' I was covered in blood from head to toe. I was swimming in it.

"I started saying things he wanted to hear - 'I love you, we can run away together, we can be happy together, we can have a family'.

"He said 'I'm not good enough for you, look what I have done'."

She told the court: "I'm not going to lie, I was scared for my life. I thought, if we get out alive, he cannot get away with this."

image copyrightMet Police
image captionCeline Dookhran's phone was found in Arshid's Folkestone hotel room after the killing

Arshid was arrested at a hotel in Folkestone, Kent, the morning after Ms Dookhran was killed.

Det Ch Insp Sam Price described Arshid's actions as a "sexually motivated attack of unspeakable violence and horror."

She added: "Celine's family have been forced to sit through weeks of reliving their daughter's last hours and they have done this with absolute dignity.

"Their distress has been compounded by the fact Arshid was someone they knew and trusted."

Analysis: Home Affairs Correspondent June Kelly

Mujahid Arshid has been convicted on a number of counts including sexually abusing his surviving victim a decade ago - so could he have been stopped before he became a killer?

His surviving victim alerted some members of her family to his behaviour in 2011, but her story was not accepted.

It was two years later that Arshid came on to the police radar when he was caught in an operation aimed at trapping paedophiles.

The Crown Prosecution Service wanted to bring a case, but they could not because the police failed to find Arshid's laptop.

This police investigation will now form part of a review.

It is only when that is complete that it will become clear whether a missed opportunity developed into a fatal chain of events.

Related Topics

  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Mitcham
  • Folkestone
  • Ealing

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  • Celine Dookhran trial: Accused 'panicked' during interview