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Post-mortems on bodies found in freezer may take until November to complete, court told

PUBLISHED: 15:27 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 02 August 2019

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

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

Archant

It could take until November to fully complete post-mortem examinations on the bodies of two women found in a freezer in Custom House, a court was told.

The bodies of Mary Jane Mustafa, 38, from Canning Town, and Henriett Szucs, 34, a Hungarian who slept rough in Ilford, were discovered in a freezer inside a flat in Vandome Close in April.

Zahid Younis, 34, who lived in the flat where the bodies were found, has been charged with two counts of preventing a lawful and decent burial of a dead body.

He failed to appear for the hearing at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, August 2, claiming he was ill.

His Honour Judge Lodder QC spoke of a "unique case" and said that he had been made aware that the "post-mortem examination results in this case would be difficult".

He added: "It's clear that the post-mortem examinations may take as long as November to be completed."

This, the court heard, meant that the original provisional trial date of October 21 would not be suitable.

Peter Ratliff, prosecuting, said that he hoped one of the post-mortems would be complete by mid-October, with a pathologist then expected to take two weeks to analyse it.

Mark Gatley, defending, told the court his side would then need time to respond to the findings.

A new provisional trial date was fixed for April 14, 2020, at Kingston Crown Court with the trial estimated to last four weeks.

Mr Younis was remanded in custody until the next hearing, set to take place on Friday, October 25.

By this time, the judge said, he hoped that "decided on the particular charges this defendant will face at trial" - with the result of the post-mortem examinations set to potentially alter what charges Mr Younis would face.

He added: "It seems to me here that, not just for the defendant but also for the families of the deceased, the trial date will be as expeditiously as possible."

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