A convicted sex offender was jailed for at least 38 years today after being convicted of the murder of two women whose bodies were found in a freezer in his home.
Zahid Younis, 36, beat the Hungarian prostitute Henriett Szucs, 34, to death in 2016 and two years later stored the body of the mother of two Mihrican Mustafa, 38, in the same freezer when he strangled her.
When police caught up with Younis, they found that the bodies in his apartment in Canning Town, east London, had been frozen for so long that they had merged.
Bodycam footage released today by Scotland Yard showed police officers ransacking the apartment before making the grim discovery in April last year. A detective heard, "There's a freezer here that I want to get in, but it's locked."
The manipulative killer has historically abused women and was previously jailed for making a bride pregnant at age 14 after marrying her in a mosque.
He showed no emotion when the verdicts were read while Ms. Mustafa's family members, who attended each day of the three-week trial, said "yes" in the public gallery.
Convicted sex offender Zahid Younis, 35, was found guilty today of murdering two women whose bodies were found in a freezer at his home in Canning Town, east London
The bodies of Henriett Szucs (left) and Mihrican Mustafa (right) were found together in London
Bodycam footage released today by Scotland Yard showed police officers ransacking the apartment before making the grim discovery in April last year. A detective heard him say, "There's a freezer here that I want to get in, but it's locked."
Her older sister, Mel Mustafa, said, "Thank you God, thank you." The judge, Judge Cheema-Grubb, sentenced Younis to a life sentence of at least 38 years.
The judge, Ms. Judge Cheema-Grubb, said, “It will come as no surprise to anyone in this room that the defendant refused to attend his sentence while in the cells downstairs, but I will address these remarks to him when he has the courage to read it, he will understand why the court came to the conclusion that it has. & # 39;
Calling Younis an “arch-cheater”, she called him a “heartless man and a narcissist” and added, “They followed the vulnerable with superficial charm.
“You have been sentenced by strong law enforcement. The bodies of two women found in your home and hidden in a locked freezer purchased for this purpose not only showed signs of violence that you failed to explain. & # 39;
The judge said Younis had "stolen" his victims "all happiness in life and dignity in death" and said, "They have no remorse."
Freezer packaging found in Younis & # 39; one bedroom apartment after a police search last year
The front door (left) and a closet door (right) in Younis & # 39; apartment in Canning Town, East London
Evidence markings were placed on Youni's bedroom floor after police raided the apartment last year
Younis refused to leave his cell to be sentenced this afternoon. His attorney Icah Peart QC told Southwark Crown Court, “I went downstairs to speak to him and persuade him to go back to court. He does not feel able to do so. & # 39;
How the double killer pursued vulnerable women
The double killer Zahid Younis has hunted down the vulnerable in the past.
The two women he murdered and left in a freezer had lived somewhat chaotic lives – they had been homeless at times and struggled with drugs. They were easy to manipulate.
Investigator Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding of the Metropolitan Police said, "Zahid Younis is a particularly dangerous person whom I would describe as a repulsive person, who hunts down, abuses, controls and causes significant injury, particularly vulnerable women." & # 39;
Describing Youni's life as a "pattern of lies," he added, "He is a person who uses drugs and manipulates and lies to people to get money."
Younis, 36, murdered the Hungarian citizen Henriett Szucs, 34, and the mother of three mihricans, Jan Mustafa, 38.
Ms. Szucs was last seen in August 2016 and Ms. Mustafa in May 2018. Their bodies were found in Younis' apartment in Vandome Close, Canning Town, in a padlocked freezer that was swarmed with flies in April 2019.
The grim discovery was made by a uniformed police officer who had only entered the apartment to look for Younis after he was reported missing.
DCI Harding said the freezer was forced by one of the officers on "an old-fashioned police guess" about what was in it.
He said, “He broke open the freezer and discovered what was only visible as a corpse at the time.
“It actually took the freezer to be taken out and x-rayed to see there was another body underneath. It was a cruel discovery for the officers. & # 39;
His team's "terrible scenes" trained for their jobs are nothing compared to the "bravery" of the victims' families, whose torture spanned the disappearance and killing of their loved ones, but now this trial, he said .
Members of Ms. Mustafa's extended family were outside London's Southwark Crown Court every day and Younis showed no remorse when he denied murdering her.
DCI Harding said, “It is incomprehensible to imagine what families are going through.
“You have been incredibly brave throughout this ordeal. It is an ordeal in court to listen to one's lies. It's hard to listen when you are a family member to hear what they're saying about your daughter, sister, or mother. & # 39;
DCI Harding described Ms. Szucs as someone who had previously been in abusive relationships and then was persecuted by Younis.
She moved in with him and Younis denied having a long-term relationship with her, but "we've shown that she was really in love with him in her own way," said DCI Harding.
She wrote him letters that we found. Unfortunately she meant nothing to him. She was just another person whom he abused physically and mentally, which resulted in her death 10 months after they met. & # 39;
Younis waited a year before telling anyone, including the police or prosecutors, exactly what his defense was. He waited for all of the evidence to be served.
Then he came up with his "story" of blaming someone for helping them put the bodies in the freezer even though they were in jail at the time, noted DCI Harding.
The court heard that Younis had several previous convictions for assaulting a partner.
By the time he was 17, Younis was controlling, violent, and arrogant toward his then-girlfriend, including waiting outside her house and accompanying her everywhere.
In 2004 he married a 14-year-old boy in an Islamic ceremony in a mosque in Walthamstow, east London. He was eventually jailed for 30 months for assaulting a teenager and illegal sexual activity with a child and entered the sex offender registry.
Prosecutors said that after he was released from prison in 2007, Younis began a relationship with a 17-year-old girl whose father had recently died.
The jury heard that the violence began with slapping before escalating into punches and kicks, leaving the teenager with large bruises.
The girl's family eventually got Younis to allow her to leave their home after her arm was broken in three places.
He was later sentenced to four years and eleven months in prison for two wounds and one assault.
Police visited him at the tiny one-bedroom apartment he rented as a registered sex offender in 2016, unaware that Ms. Szucs' body was buried in nearby ice ovens.
The apartment was in a mess and they left without interviewing Younis after he told officers he was using a bucket as a makeshift toilet.
The Hungarian prostitute Ms. Szucs disappeared after moving in with Younis and was last seen alive with him in the summer of 2016.
Ms. Mustafa had also visited Younis before she disappeared in May 2018. Police did not find their bodies until he fled the apartment and was reported missing in April 2019.
They had to use a crowbar to open the locked freezer that was hidden in the electricity meter cabinet and found the two bodies, which decomposed quickly after the electricity was switched off.
Both victims suffered horrific injuries, including several broken ribs. Ms. Mustafa had a broken larynx and Ms. Szucs & # 39; skull was broken.
Younis attempted to hijack his trial by firing his attorney, requesting more time to review case documents, and calling abuse from the dock.
But a Southwark Crown Court jury in London convicted him this afternoon of two homicide cases after deliberating for 16 hours and six minutes.
Younis, who has flower tattoos on either side of his neck, had molested girlfriends for many years, leaving a partner with a broken arm in 2007.
He married a 13-year-old girl at a Walthamstow Mosque when he was 20 and admitted to illegal sexual activity with a child when she became pregnant the following year in 2005.
Younis also admitted to a joint attack after headlocking the teenager to drag her out of a supermarket.
She was introduced to him when she was 12 years old and they began a sexual relationship when she was 13 years old.
A year later they were married in an Islamic ceremony in the mosque.
Younis was given 30 months to have sex with her in 2005, and in 2008 he was jailed for breaking the arm of another teenage lover in three places.
He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison after admitting two wounds and one assault that resulted in actual assault on the 17-year-old.
Younis left her bruised and isolated from her friends as she threatened to set her family on fire if she confided in someone about the abuse.
Another friend, who later had his child, was locked in a ventilation cabinet by Younis for hours.
He also locked her in a phone booth when she tried to call her mother and threatened to throw her in front of a train.
Both of his murder victims were vulnerable women who led somewhat chaotic lives, marked by periods of homelessness and addiction to Class A drugs.
Before her death, neighbors had seen Ms. Szucs in the apartment with a badly bruised face and heard "disturbing noises" from the apartment.
She had been forced to convert to Islam by Younis, but wrote to him for forgiveness for doubting him: "I was disaffected just because I hit the face."
The neighbors also saw Ms. Mustafa with spots around her neck, but Younis claimed she drank too much and tried to kill him.
Bodycam footage played on the square showed PC Omar Naeem shining a torch through Younis & # 39; s abandoned apartment to find the locked freezer with a frame above it.
The officer was heard saying to his colleague, "Wait, there's a foot" before corpses came into view.
Younis alleged Ms. Szucs mysteriously died on his sofa and said two men, Ted Jolley and Tommy Farmer, appeared with Ms. Mustafa's body in a trash can outside his house.
He said they told him to burn Ms. Mustafa's body and dispose of her clothes on Southend Pier in Essex.
He also said he wasn't there when Ms. Szucs died in his apartment and didn't tell the police because he panicked. He told the jury that he did not kill Ms. Mustafa and did not know how she died.
Younis also said he paid a man to help him put Ms. Szuc's body in the freezer and that his accomplice later blackmailed him into putting Ms. Mustafa's body in the same location.
Duncan Penny, QC, the prosecutor beat up the double killer for telling “fairy tales” and told him, “You were responsible for these deaths, and the stories about these two characters in all of this elaboration are nothing more than that. It is a story. It's a yarn. It's a big story. & # 39;
Mr. Penny told the jury, “The sad truth in this appalling case is that Henriett Szucs and Mihrican Mustafa, like those who survived speaking of their experiences through Younis, were victims of Zahid Younis.
Ms. Mustafa's handbag was found during a police search of the apartment. She went missing in 2018
During the police search, a torn photo of Ms. Szucs was found in Younis' apartment
Ms. Mustafa (pictured) was last seen in May 2018 before being grimly discovered in April 2019
They were murdered by him and their bodies were treated with the same disrespect and indignation by him.
"We have lost a precious gem": Full statement from Mihrican Mustafa's family
& # 39; Jan & # 39; s death changed our family forever. From the moment we found out she was missing, we spent every moment of every hour looking for her and we didn't give up a minute.
When Jan didn't come for her daughter's birthday, she wrote: & # 39; To mom – please come back, I really miss you. You missed my 11th birthday party (it was the worst party ever). I sat in the corner and cried my eyes, looked at your pictures and read your poems while I screamed in my head, “Where are you? Please mom come back home. & # 39;
“Deep down, I knew something was wrong because you would never leave your children. They were your world.
“The call from the police will never be forgotten when you hear them confirm that my Jan was never real. I still don't believe it. The moment we told my aunt and Jan's kids with an ambulance on standby breaks every part of me; See the pain and tears in their eyes.
She was a gentle being who had all of her life to live and watch her children grow. My heart goes out deeply to their children who are the strongest people I know. The grief they go through cannot be compared to any other pain.
& # 39; Our family has lost a precious gem; My aunt Mary Jane Mustafa was an amazing aunt, mother, sister and daughter to her family.
& # 39; Jan was a fantastic mom. She adored her children. She loved to dance. She was artistic. She was creative. She was beautiful. She was friends with everyone and very funny. She celebrated life. She was optimistic. She never said anything bad about anyone. She would give her last penny to someone in need. She was an angel. She is an angel.
& # 39; sister my angel. God gave you your mission. Always my sister, forever my angel, you fly into my dreams when I sleep. I feel how your wings touch my face and wipe away the tears that I have shed because I can no longer hold you in my arms, only in my heart. & # 39;
& # 39; The trial is over, justice has been done. "Closure," they say. Never. It won't bring my Jan back. I love you, my Tilly, and I know that you are with me. & # 39;
"He will not face what he did because he demonstrated in the process, and let's face it, because he is only able to think of himself and do anything to protect himself."
Younis, who hobbled on crutches in court every day, denied this but was convicted of two murders.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said, “Zahid Younis is a particularly dangerous person who I would describe as a repulsive person who hunts down, abuses, controls and inflicts serious injuries on vulnerable women in particular. & # 39;
Mr Harding said the officer was acting on "an old-fashioned police presumption" when he discovered women's bodies began to decompose after periods when the home's electricity was turned off.
The victims were exposed to "very significant violence" and suffered injuries that included kicking or stomping, Penny said.
Mr Harding said Younis showed no remorse when he brought his victims' families on trial.
“You have been incredibly brave throughout this ordeal. It is an ordeal in court to listen to one's lies. It's hard to listen when you are a family, ”he added.
Ms. Mustafa's family said, “Jan's death changed our family forever. From the moment we found out she was missing, we have spent every moment of every hour looking for her and we have never given up a minute. & # 39;
They added that she did not come for her daughter's birthday. She wrote: “To mom – please come back, I really miss you. You missed my 11th birthday party (it was the worst party ever). I sat in the corner and cried my eyes, looked at your pictures and read your poems while I screamed in my head, “Where are you? Please mom come back home. & # 39;
The family declaration continued, “Deep down, I knew something was wrong because you would never leave your children. They were your world.
“The call from the police will never be forgotten when you hear them confirm that my Jan was never real. I still don't believe it.
& # 39; The moment we told my aunt and Jan's kids that an ambulance was ready breaks every part of me; See the pain and tears in their eyes.
She was a gentle being who had all of her life to live and watch her children grow. My heart goes out deeply to their children who are the strongest people I know. The grief they go through cannot be compared to any other pain. & # 39;
Ms. Szucs' mother, Maria, who is in Hungary and unable to appear in court because of the coronavirus pandemic, said in a statement: "Henriett was a beautiful, kind, young woman and no one deserved it, under such brutal circumstances to be killed. "
Forensic scientists left the apartment in Canning Town, east London, in April 2019 after the grim discovery in the freezer where the bodies of the two women had merged
Local police outside Canning Town apartment in April 2019 after two bodies were found
A statement issued on her behalf by the Metropolitan Police said: “Maria, Henriett's mother, was overwhelmed by the death of her daughter. Not just because she was murdered, but because it happened in another country. A country where she knows neither the law nor the police investigations and legal proceedings.
Maria lost contact with Henriett when she came to the UK, but that only makes her grief worse. The fact that Henriett had died in a freezer for two and a half years and no one looked for her or noticed that she was missing torments Maria daily.
“The turmoil she suffers is what one would expect from a mother mourning the death of her child, and to make matters worse, she could not see her or lay her to rest. This is inconceivable for any family member, but especially for a mother. & # 39;
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