Murder accused ‘claimed to be homeless cancer patient and domestic violence victim’, court hears
- Credit: Archant
The man accused of killing two women and hiding them in his freezer claimed to be a homeless cancer patient and a victim of domestic violence, a court has heard.
Rosalie Langley-Judd told Southwark Crown Court how she first met Zahid Younis, who she knew as Ali Younis, outside the Stratford Centre while on her way to church in February 2019.
“It was a very cold Sunday morning,” she said. “I had just exited the Stratford Centre to go to church. I felt so much compassion for him because it was so cold.”
Mr Younis, 36, has been charged with murdering Henriett Szucs, a Hungarian national who had been sleeping rough in Ilford, and Mihrican Mustafa, also known as Mary Jane, from Canning Town. He is also accused of preventing a lawful burial of both women by concealing their bodies in a freezer in his Vandome Close, Custom House flat.
Ms Langley-Judd, who described herself as a missionary and writer, told the court that after church, she took Mr Younis to the Subway in the Stratford Centre to have some lunch, and that the pair spent around 90 minutes talking.
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“He told me he was a cancer patient,” she said. “He pulled up his top and showed me a lot of scars and told me they were operations for bowel cancer. Then we talked about Jesus.”
Asked how Mr Younis reacted to the talk about religion, she said: “He was interested and said he wanted to become a Christian.”
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Ms Langley-Judd said that the pair also talked about Mr Younis’ personal circumstances, adding: “He told me he had been in an abusive relationship. He told me he was homeless. He was being abused by someone else.”
At the end of the meeting, the two exchanged numbers so they could keep in touch. Between that date and the end of April 2019, 423 text messages were sent between the pair.
Ms Langley-Judd said that many of these messages were her offering him advice and support for his homelessness, but that he would sometimes ask for money. Over the course of the three months, she gave Mr Younis £1,400 in bank transfers as well as a quantity of cash.
These requests included £100 to get his car back so he could sleep in it, and £126 for a train ticket after he claimed he fell asleep on a train and ended up in Bodmin, Cornwall. Ms Langley-Judd said that she gave him less than that and told him to get a National Express coach, which was cheaper.
The court heard that on April 13, Mr Younis told Ms Langley-Judd that he had got a flat in Vandome Close, which only had a fridge and a cooker in it. After he moved in, she brought items such as a chair over so he had other furniture.
But, she said, he would not let her inside, claiming he had a problem with mice or rats.
“He took me outside to the communal garden area and told me that was where he was going to sleep until the issue had been cleared up,” she said.
The pair then went to a coffee shop where they talked about Mr Younis’s upcoming baptism, which was due to take place on April 28.
Ms Langley-Judd told the court that she received messages from Mr Younis between April 14 and 17, when she was away visiting family, asking for money to pay a neighbour for a mobile phone.
“The messages were harassing,” she said. “It felt as if he was manipulating me, even as if I owed him money that I was trying to avoid paying.”
Other messages sent during that month saw her offer to get a cleaner for the flat, but Mr Younis said he had money coming in which had been earmarked for that. A cleaner was, however, sorted out to attend on Friday, April 26.
Ms Langley-Judd told how she went to visit Mr Younis at his flat on Thursday, April 25, as he had told her he had been in hospital earlier that week and had stopped replying to messages. She said that she tried the intercom three times but had no answer. After the cleaner visited the following day but could also not get in, Ms Langley-Judd reported Mr Younis to police as a missing person.
Mr Younis, of Vandome Close, denies the charges against him. The trial continues.