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Celine Dookhran murder accused ‘obsessed’ with victim

A builder kidnapped, raped and cut the throats of two women before putting one of their bodies in a deep freezer, a court has heard.

Mujahid Arshid, 33, is charged with the rape and murder of 20-year-old Celine Dookhran.

She was found on 19 July last year in an empty house in Kingston, south London.

He is also accused of the rape and attempted murder of a woman in her 20s who cannot be identified.

Mr Arshid and co-defendant Vincent Tappu are jointly charged with the kidnap of Ms Dookhran and the second woman, conspiracy to falsely imprison both women, and possessing a firearm with intent, namely a Taser.

Crispin Aylett QC, opening the case, told jurors the evidence was “simply horrific” and “you will have to steel yourselves for what is to come”.

The Old Bailey heard that Mr Arshid was obsessed with his niece Ms Dookhran, who worked in a bank.

He had spent weeks planning to abduct and kill both women in a plot that was as “bizarre as it is terrible”, Mr Aylett said.

“To that end he considered either putting them in acid or else concealing them in a deep freezer.”

The court heard there had been unhappiness in Ms Dookhran’s family about a relationship she was in and that she had been staying at a property occupied by Mr Arshid after leaving home.

The evening before the murder there had been a family meeting attended by Mr Arshid during which pressure was placed on Ms Dookhran and her boyfriend to end their association, jurors heard.

The next morning – 19 July – Mr Arshid took advantage of the “uncertainty surrounding Celine’s position” in order to kidnap her, the jury was told.

It is alleged that the balaclava-clad defendants, wielding a Taser, kidnapped the women after stuffing socks in their mouths and wrapping them in dustsheets.

The women were put in the boot of a vehicle and driven to an empty six-bedroom house to which Mr Arshid had access in his capacity as a builder, the court heard.

Mr Tappu, 28, of Spencer Road, Acton, west London, was recruited by Mr Arshid to help abduct the pair and his alleged involvement ended during the journey to Kingston.

Jurors were told that Mr Arshid raped both women at the property before cutting Ms Dookhran’s throat and putting her body in a deep freezer he had installed two days earlier.

He also cut the second woman’s throat, but she managed to escape death and raise the alarm by persuading him they could be together, the court heard.

The defendant abandoned his car at a nearby railway station and was later arrested in a hotel in Folkestone, Kent.

Mr Arshid, of no fixed address, is further charged with sexual assault and assault by penetration against the second female between 2008 and 2010.

The trial continues.