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Murder accused ‘stored second body in freezer after being threatened’, court heard

PUBLISHED: 17:43 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:43 24 August 2020

The bodies of Henriett Szucs and Mary Jane Mustafa were found in a freezer in Custom House. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins and Ayse Hussein.

The bodies of Henriett Szucs and Mary Jane Mustafa were found in a freezer in Custom House. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins and Ayse Hussein.

Archant

A man accused of murdering two women and hiding their bodies in a freezer has said he was coerced into storing the second body by two men who threatened to tell about the first if he didn’t help them, a court has heard.

Zahid Younis, giving evidence in his defence, told how the body of Mihrican Mustafa, also known as Mary Jane, was brought to his Vandome Close, Custom House flat in a wheeled bin by the two men.

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, said that both victims - Ms Mustafa, from Canning Town, and Henriett Szucs, a Hungarian national who slept rough in Ilford - were dead and in the freezer from around mid-May 2018.

Mr Younis told Southwark Crown Court he was not living full-time at the flat at that point but was “going back and forth” and was spending “a few hours” there as he used the place to wash his clothes and check his mail.

Mr Younis said he did not know Ms Mustafa, despite the prosecution stating his telephone number had been saved on her mobile under the name of Boxer.

He said: “I absolutely did not know this woman. I have seen her about but I did not know her.”

Mr Younis claimed that two men brought Ms Mustafa’s dead body, along with her property including her bag and telephone, to his home in a wheeled bin and ordered that she be put into the freezer.

Mr Penny told Mr Younis: “Of all the freezers in east London - it had to be yours, Mr Younis.”

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The defence says Mr Younis felt he had no choice about agreeing to have the second body put in his freezer.

One of the men had threatened to tell about the dead woman who was already there if he refused, the court heard.

It is then said that Ms Szucs was left to decompose for a week because the men could not get the two bodies to fit into the freezer.

Younis told the court “they were banging and banging and trying to get it in there”.

Mr Penny told Younis he was “responsible” for the deaths of the women in the freezer and suggested that his evidence about the two men is false.

He said: “It is an elaboration and nothing more than that because it is a story, a yarn, a tall tale - do you agree?”

Younis responded: “Absolutely not.”

Both of the victims were “vulnerable women living somewhat chaotic lives”, including periods of homelessness and class A drug addiction, Mr Penny has said.

The trial continues.


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