‘She was an angel’: Families of Mary Jane Mustafa and Henriett Szucs speak out

The bodies of Henriett Szucs and Mary Jane Mustafa were found in a freezer in Custom House. Pictures

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

The families of the two women murdered and concealed in a freezer have described the “inner turmoil” and “pain” of their disappearance and the subsequent court trial.

Zahid Younis has been found guilty of murder. Picture: Met Police

Zahid Younis has been found guilty of murder. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

Henriett Szucs, a Hungarian national who had been sleeping rough in Ilford, disappeared in 2016 while Mihrican Mustafa, a Canning Town mum-of-two also known as Jan and Mary Jane, was last seen in 2018.

Both were found in the freezer at Zahid Younis’ flat in Vandome Close last year, and the 36-year-old was today (Thursday, September 3) found guilty of murder.

Ms Mustafa’s family told how her death “has changed our family forever”.

In a statement, they said: “From the moment we found out that she was missing, we spent every moment of every hour looking for her and we never for one minute gave up.

“When Jan didn’t come to her daughter’s birthday, she wrote: ’To mummy - Please come back I really miss you. You missed my 11th birthday party (it was the worst party ever) I sat in the corner crying my eyes out looking at your pictures and reading your poems while in my head screaming, “where are you! Please mum, come back home.’

“Jan was a fantastic mother. She adored her children. She loved to dance. She was artistic. She was creative. She was beautiful. She was friends with everybody and very funny.

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“She celebrated life. She was optimistic. She never said anything bad about anybody. She would give her last penny to someone in need. She was an angel. She is an angel.”

The family said that deep down they knew that something wasn’t right because Ms Mustafa wouldn’t leave her children, who they described as her “world”.

They added: “The call from the police will never be forgotten, hearing them words confirming they found my Jan was never real, I still don’t believe it. The moment we told my Auntie and Jan’s children, with an ambulance on standby, breaks every part of me; seeing the pain and tears in their eyes.

“She was a gentle being, who still had her whole life ahead of her, to live and watch her children grow. My heart deeply goes out to her children, who are the strongest people that I know. The grief that they are going through compares to no other pain.

“Our family has lost a precious jewel.

“The trial is over, justice has been done. ‘Closure,’ they say. Never. It will not bring my Jan back.”

For Ms Szucs’ mother Maria, not being able to lay the 34-year-old to rest has been “most unimaginable”.

A statement written on her behalf said: “Maria, Henriett’s mother, has been hugely overwhelmed by the death of her daughter.

“Not only because she was murdered but because it happened in another country. A country where she doesn’t know the law or know the police investigation and court processes.

“Maria lost touch with Henriett when she came to the UK but that only exacerbates her grief. The fact that Henriett lay deceased in a freezer for two and a half years with no-one looking for her or realising she was missing, torments Maria on a daily basis.

“The inner turmoil she suffers is as you would expect for a mother mourning the death of her child and to make matters worse, she hasn’t been able to see her or lay her to rest. This is most unimaginable for any family member but particularly a mother.”