A man has been convicted of the murder of 20-year-old Celine Dookhran and the attempted murder of a second woman following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Mujahid Arshid, 33 (09.06.84) of Homefield Gardens, Mitcham was found guilty on Wednesday, 14 February of the murder of Celine Dookhran, attempted murder, rape, sexual assault and kidnap.
Arshid will be sentenced at the same court later today.
Police launched an investigation after being called to an address on Coombe Lane West in Kingston on the evening of 19 July 2017.
They had been alerted after the second victim had managed to escape from Arshid and raise the alarm.
Officers attended the property at around 20:00hrs and found Celine’s body. Arshid was quickly identified as a suspect and he was arrested in the early hours of the following morning at a hotel in Folkestone.
Their investigation revealed that Arshid had spent the three weeks prior to the incident planning how he could abduct Celine and the second victim.
He was said to have been motivated to kill by his infatuation for them, and jealousy because of other relationships they were in.
The jury heard that he had carried out internet searches about how to dissolve bodies in acid and how long it took for someone to freeze to death.
On the morning of 19 July, Arshid entered an address on Homefield Gardens in Mitcham wearing a balaclava.
Miss Dookhran and the second victim were gagged and had their mouths, hands and feet bound with tape. They were then wrapped in dust sheets.
Arshid is said to have gathered clothes and other items belonging to the two women and put them in a suitcase – it is believed that he wanted to make it look like they were running away.
The victims were loaded into the back of his vehicle.
Arshid then drove the victims to an address on Coombe Lane West in Kingston, which he had been hired to carry out building work on and knew was empty.
Both women were raped by Arshid at the address and he inflicted a fatal slash wound on Celine’s neck. He then put her in a chest freezer he had installed at the property two days before on 17 July, and padlocked it shut.
The second victim also suffered a neck wound which was not fatal. She spoke to Arshid during the attacks and he stopped the violence.
She managed to get hold of a mobile phone whilst being held captive and tell her mother she had been kidnapped. She didn’t know where she had been taken, but was able to remember landmarks.
Seemingly coming to terms with what he had done, Arshid called a relative and they met. Seeing the injuries to the second victim, the relative got her out of Arshid’s car and took her to hospital. She would later recount what had happened.
Arshid first drove home where he spoke to his wife whilst gathering belongings and his passport. He then drove to New Malden and boarded a train to Kent. When he was arrested, Arshid was carrying a key to the padlock on the freezer and was found with purses belonging to the two victims.
A post-mortem examination carried out at Kingston Mortuary gave Celine’s cause of death as an incised wound to the neck.
Detective Chief Inspector Sam Price, led the investigation for the Homicide and Major Crime Command, she said: “This was a sexually motivated attack of unspeakable violence and horror which ended in one murder, with a second surviving victim suffering serious injuries and ongoing trauma.
“Throughout the trial, Arshid’s attempts to deflect blame from himself have been deplorable. I am glad the jury have seen through his lies and have convicted him of these horrific crimes.
“Celine’s family have been forced to sit through weeks of reliving their daughter’s last hours and they have done this with absolute dignity. Their distress has been compounded by the fact Arshid was someone they knew and trusted.
“I would like to pay tribute to them, and the surviving victim, who have shown great strength and courage during this investigation – this is in complete contrast to Arshid’s cowardice.”
The family of the surviving victim said: “We would like to take this opportunity to give a brief statement after the end of this trial.
“Firstly, that this wasn’t an honour killing as was initially speculated in the media post July 19th 2017, and which was then widely assumed and reported. The facts of the case have vindicated this and therefore we would further invite everyone not to believe the wild speculation and spin on the facts that previously emerged on social media and that may do so again, as well as in the papers.
“Mujahid Arshid tried to destroy the life of the surviving victim ever since she met him, he has manipulated and lied repeatedly, and continued this throughout the trial. Mujahid Arshid persistently fabricated the truth and attempted to deceive the courts and the same can be said of those that have supported him during the course of this trial. More so, Arshid, by pleading not guilty, ensured that the surviving victim would have to relive that horrific day in minuscule detail during the course of this trial. He showed not an ounce of remorse throughout this trial, in spite of the hurt and pain he purposefully caused. He should hang his head in shame!
“We would like to thank the police, the officers and detectives, the support agencies, the Crown Prosecution Service, The Judge and the Jury. More specifically Mr Crispin Aylett QC & Mr Bill Emlyn-Jones, as the life and honour of the surviving victim were placed in there assured hands and they ensured that justice was delivered. We feel if it were not for both Mr Aylett QC & Mr Emlyn-Jones then possibly justice would not have been served.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported the surviving victim throughout this ordeal, especially friends and family.
“We would like to give a special mention to Celine Dookhran who was tragically murdered by Mujahid Arshid. She was an amazingly brilliant, talented, kind, loving and innocent person. She will be always remembered and loved.
“The surviving victim has asked for privacy from all forms of media and press so she can take some time to attempt to rebuild and move on with her life.”
A second man, Vincent Tappu, 28 (04.03.89) of Spencer Road, Ealing was found not guilty at the same trial.