Man guilty of murdering women and hiding bodies in freezer
- Credit: Archant
A Custom House man has been found guilty of murdering two women and concealing their bodies in a freezer.
Zahid Younis, 36, has been convicted of the murders of Henriett Szucs and Mihrican Mustafa, also known as Mary Jane, following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
The jury heard how the bodies of Ms Szucs, a Hungarian national who had been sleeping rough in Ilford, and mother-of-two Ms Mustafa, from Canning Town, had been discovered inside a locked chest freezer inside Younis’ flat in Vandome Close last April.
Ms Szucs vanished in August 2016 and Ms Mustafa went missing in May 2018.
Younis, known as “Boxer”, admitted putting the women in the freezer and pleaded guilty to two counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.
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He denied two counts of murder but was found guilty of both charges by a jury at Southwark Crown Court today (Thursday, September 3) after 16 hours and six minutes of deliberations.
Younis showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out while members of Ms Mustafa’s family, who attended every day of the trial, said “yes” in the public gallery.
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Her older sister, Mel Mustafa, said: “Thank you God, thank you.”
The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told Younis she will sentence him later on Thursday.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, of the Metropolitan Police, said afterwards: “Zahid Younis is a particularly dangerous and what I would describe as a repugnant individual who preys on vulnerable women in particular and abuses them, brings them into his control and causes them significant injury.”
During the trial, the court heard how Younis married a 14-year-old girl in an Islamic ceremony at a mosque in Walthamstow, east London, in 2004.
He was eventually jailed for two-and-a-half years for assaulting the teenager and unlawful sexual activity with a child and was put on the sex offenders’ register.
Younis was later sentenced to four years and 11 months imprisonment for two counts of wounding and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following an abusive relationship with a 17-year-old girl, which started in 2007 after his release from jail.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told jurors at his double murder trial both Ms Szucs and Ms Mustafa were “vulnerable women living somewhat chaotic lives”, including periods of homelessness and class A drug addiction.
The court heard Younis bought a freezer shortly after killing Ms Szucs “for the sole purpose” of concealing her body.
Mr Penny said police had gone to his flat to look for Younis when a uniformed officer found the appliance surrounded with flies in a cupboard before prying it open with a crowbar.
Police officer Mr Harding said the officer was acting on “an old-fashioned police hunch” when he discovered the women’s bodies, which had started to decompose after periods when the flat’s electricity had been cut off.
The victims had been subjected to “very significant violence” and suffered injuries consistent with kicking or stamping, Mr Penny said.
They had both suffered numerous rib fractures while Ms Szucs had sustained “dreadful” head injuries and Ms Mustafa’s sternum and larynx had been fractured.
Younis claimed he was out when Ms Szucs died at his flat and did not tell police because he was “panicking”.
He told jurors he did not kill Ms Mustafa and did not know how she died.
Younis said he paid a man to help him get Ms Szucs’ body into the freezer and that his accomplice later blackmailed him into putting Ms Mustafa’s corpse in the same place.
Mr Harding said Younis had shown no remorse as he subjected his victims’ families to a trial.
“They have been incredibly brave throughout this entire ordeal. It is an ordeal in court listening to his lies. It is hard to listen if you are a family,” he added.