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Custom House deaths: Inquests open into deaths of two women found in freezer

PUBLISHED: 12:55 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:32 17 May 2019

The inquest into the deaths of Henriett Szucs and Mary Jane Mustafa, whose bodies were found in a freezer in Custom House, has been opened. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins and Ayse Hussein.

The inquest into the deaths of Henriett Szucs and Mary Jane Mustafa, whose bodies were found in a freezer in Custom House, has been opened. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins and Ayse Hussein.

Archant

The inquests into the deaths of two women found in a freezer in Custom House, one of whom slept rough in Ilford, have been opened.

Police were called to Vandome Close at around 11.45am on April 26 after concerns were raised about the welfare of somebody inside one of the properties.

The search of the ground floor flat was initially negative until officers entered a small room which contained a padlocked chest freezer, Walthamstow Coroner's Court heard today (Friday, May 17).

Officers broke the padlock and discovered what appeared to be a frozen body. Following a scan of the freezer the next day, it was determined that there were two bodies inside which were fused together.

The bodies have been identified as Henriett Szucs, 34, a Hungarian national who had been in the UK for some time, and Mary Jane Mustafa, 38, a former teacher who was reported missing on May 6 last year after leaving home with just £3 and her phone in her pocket.

An investigation had been ongoing to trace Mary Jane and after she was identified, the Met Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in accordance with agreed protocols.

Police do not know how long Henriett's body had been in the flat but have said that she spoke to someone she knew in Hungary on the phone in the summer of 2016 and are trying to discover if anybody had seen or heard from her since then.

The cause of death for both women is yet to be established and a second post-mortem examination is being arranged, the court heard.

Zahid Younis, 34, of Vandome Close, has been charged with two counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body on or before Saturday, April 27.

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud advised that the police investigation should take priority and requested an update on the investigation by the end of June.

An Ilford rough sleeping charity paid tribute to Henriett, who had been using its services until at least March 2015.

"She was a beautiful, loving and trusting person who doesn't deserve this," Sonia Lynch, manager of homelessness charity The Welcome Centre, in St Mary's Road, said.

A crowdfunding page has also been set up to help pay for the funeral of Mary Jane.

The page, which was set up by her cousin Ayse Hussein, has received £9,737 in donations towards its £10,000 target.

Paying tribute, Ayse told the Recorder: "We want the best send off that she deserves no matter what it costs.

"I want to thank everyone for giving money, we are really grateful and there have been so many anonymous donors too."

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