A “pure evil” builder who kidnapped, raped, and killed his own niece before dumping her body in a locked freezer has been given four life sentences and will spend at least 40 years behind bars.
Mujahid Arshid, 33, was consumed with jealousy when he dragged 20-year-old Celine Dookhran from the shower, binding and gagging her before tossing her into the boot of his pick-up truck.
The Old Bailey heard he was “obsessed” with Celine and another woman, and hatched a plot to kidnap and kill them after learning both had boyfriends.
He told the other woman “you have ten minutes to live” before slitting her throat. However, she managed to save her own life by telling Arshid she loved him and wanted to run away with him.
The woman was eventually able to raise the alarm, leading police to the grisly discovery of Celine’s crumpled body inside the padlocked freezer.
Despite a wealth of evidence against him, Arshid insisted he was innocent at trial, trying to claim the second woman had killed Celine in a fit of jealousy.
As the jury found him guilty of murder, attempted murder, rape and kidnapping as well as two charges of historic sexual abuse, Arshid angrily shouted: “I will prove that b*tch wrong”, continue to insist the second woman “has lied to all of you”.
Sentencing him this afternoon to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years, Mr Justice Edis said Arshid is “an intelligent man in many ways but has no insight at all into the way people perceive him.
“He believes he is the centre of the world and other people only matter if they are of use to him.”
He said the only thing saving Arshid from a whole life prison term was that his second victim had not died, convincing him that they could run away together.
“It was not humanity or mercy which caused him to stay his hand, but his bizarre belief she was going to live with him”, said the judge, who added that Arshid’s defence case was “absurd”.
In a victim impact statement, Celine’s mother Iman Naeem branded Arshid “pure evil”, telling the court her “whole life has collapsed” since the murder.
“My heart is heavy but I will not let it be broken by the actions of an evil monster”, she said.
“The disgusting and senseless action of Mujahid Arshid deprived Celine of her future, a great future where she could go on to further her ambitions, get married, and possibly have a lovely family of her own.”
Arshid’s second victim also gave an impact statement, saying she is still haunted by the “flashbacks and screams” from the day she and Celine were kidnapped.
“We all now know what this evil person has done”, she added. “Hearing the helpless screams and seeing the fear in Celine’s eyes that day, the terrifying visions and muffled sounds will never go away”.
One of Arshid’s employees in his building firm, Vincent Tappu, 28, was acquitted by the jury of helping to kidnap the two women on July 19 last year.
The court heard Arshid had fantasised about kidnapping the second woman as long ago as 2014, when he was caught sharing the sordid dream with an undercover officer online.
However, he was not charged after claiming an employee had used his password.
Celine fell into his clutches just a few months before the murder, when she fell out with her own parents who disapproved of her boyfriend.
She went to live with Arshid, who was already obsessed with the other woman and developed a “sexual fixation” with Celine, a Barclays bank clerk and aspiring make-up artist.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said Arshid resolved to carry out the murders after a family meeting, when Celine was ordered to stop seeing her boyfriend, realising both women were “beyond his clutches”, and deciding: “If he could not have them, no one else would.”
After kidnapping the women and taking them to the house in Kingston, Arshid took both of them upstairs separately to rape them, before slitting Celine’s throat as she stood in the freezer.
He forced the second women to relive the ordeal, which lasted for several hours, during the Old Bailey trial, and even accused her of carrying out the murder herself.
She told the court how, after she had been stabbed in the neck, she convinced Arshid she would run away with him and keep quiet about Celine’s death, while secretly texting her mother for help.
He let her go and the police were called, while Arshid fled to a Holiday Inn in Folkestone, Kent where he was eventually arrested.
Detectives then discovered that before the murder, Arshid had researched notorious killer John Haigh, who was hanged in 1949 for murdering six people and disposing of some of the bodies in an acid bath.
He had looked up sulphuric acid online and even set up the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arshid, of no fixed address, denied but was convicted of murder, attempted murder, two counts of rape, two charges of kidnapping, and two counts of sexual assault.
The jury found him not guilty of possession of a firearm with intent.
He was given life sentences for the murder, attempted murder, and two rapes, to run concurrently.
Tappu, from Acton, denied and was acquitted oftwo charges of kidnapping, and possession of a firearm with intent.