Murder-accused builder ‘confronted by wife about niece’s disappearance’
Mujahid Arshid denies all the charges against him.
A builder who kidnapped, raped and slashed the throats of two young women had a furious WhatsApp row with his wife while he was on the run, in which she told him “you’re dead to me”, a court heard.
As 20-year-old Barclays bank worker Celine Dookhran lay dead in a freezer at an empty house, her uncle Mujahid Arshid was confronted about her disappearance, jurors were told.
His wife demanded to know where her niece was, and Arshid told her: “How do I know. She’s the one that ran off.”
She replied: “You would stoop that low. You’re the pussy.”
He told her: “Whatever I may be, you made me. I’ll call you from Pakistan.”
She retorted: “Don’t. You’re dead to me,” to which the defendant allegedly retorted: “So is Celine apparently.”
The WhatsApp exchange was read out at the Old Bailey by prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC as he outlined the case against the 33-year-old defendant.
The court has heard he murdered his niece and tried to kill another young woman after becoming “sexually fixated” with them.
He allegedly enlisted the help of labourer Vincent Tappu, 28, to kidnap the pair and bundle them into the boot of his pick-up truck bound and gagged, before driving them to a six-bedroom house in south-west London he was renovating.
He allegedly raped both women, and slashed their throats, before stuffing Ms Dookhran’s body into a chest-height freezer he had installed at the empty property between Wimbledon and Kingston.
The surviving woman, who cannot be identified, only managed to escape by duping Arshid into believing they could be together, jurors were told.
Following her horrific ordeal in July last year, she gave police enough information to lead them to the house where she and Ms Dookhran had been held, the court heard.
Speaking from her hospital bed at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, she allegedly told police: “Please go to the address and get (Ms Dookhran) out of the freezer.”
She also expressed fear the defendant might kill others he came across, the court heard.
Officers forced the freezer open with a crowbar and found Ms Dookhran’s cold body inside, covered with a dust sheet with “several toes poking out from underneath”, Mr Aylett said.
Police later tracked down Arshid at a Holiday Inn in Folkestone in Kent and arrested him.
They seized various items belonging to the victims as well as the keys to the padlock on the freezer, the court heard.
He refused to answer questions but on being charged, he told officers: “The evidence you need is in front of you. Just look at the evidence and keep an open mind.”
On arrest, Tappu allegedly said: “You lot are completely wrong, I don’t know what’s happened.”
Mr Aylett told jurors that Tappu went on to tell police a pack of lies about his dealings with Arshid on the day of the kidnapping.
Arshid, of no fixed address, and Tappu, 28, of Spencer Road, Acton, west London, deny the charges against them.
Arshid is accused of 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.
He is jointly charged with Tappu of both women’s kidnap and false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm with intent.