Man Accused of Raping, Killing British Indian Niece Goes on Trial in UK
Mujahid Arshid is charged with sexual assault, kidnap, two rapes, murder of Celine Dookhran, and attempted murder of her friend.
A builder allegedly abducted and raped his niece and put her body inside a freezer last year, a court in the United Kingdom heard on Jan. 17. The accused was caught following the escape of a second woman he is said to have abducted, the BBC reported.
Mujahid Arshid, 33, was “sexually fixated” on 20-year old British Indian Celine Dookhran and her friend, whose name has been withheld for legal reasons. As both women had boyfriends and were “beyond his clutches,” the prosecution told the Old Bailey court that Arshid resolved to be a dog in the manger — that if he could not have the women, no one could.
He proceeded to plan their abduction and rape, three weeks before the incident. Arshid and co-defendant Vincent Tappu, 28, are jointly charged with kidnap, conspiracy to falsely imprison both women, and possessing a firearm with intent, namely a Taser. Arshid, who is of Pakistani origin, has denied all the charges against him.
While Dookhran was allegedly raped and killed, the second woman escaped and alerted the police. As the women were at odds with their family over their relationships, Arshid took advantage of the situation and made it appear as though the women had run away. On July 19 last year, Arshid and Tappu, who worked as a builder under Arshid, abducted the women, bound and gagged them, and rolled them in builders’ dust sheets. Arshid took their phones, bags and underwear to make it appear that they had run away together, the court was told.
Crispin Aylett, who opened for the prosecution, said that the women were bundled into Arshid’s pick-up truck and driven to an empty six-bedroom detached house in Kingston upon Thames, southwest London. Tappu, who denies two charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to falsely imprison, played no further part in what took place, the court was told.
Two days before the alleged abduction, Arshid had installed a chest-high freezer in the empty house. “[Arshid drove the two young women to the house and once he got them inside he tied them to the pipes in the utility room,” Aylett told the court. “All the while he was armed with a lock knife. He took the first woman upstairs to a bedroom and raped her and then brought her back down. Later, the same thing happened to Celine (Dookhran).”
After their rape, he allegedly took Dookhran to the bathroom and cut her throat. As her mouth had been stuffed with a sock, Dookhran died from a combination of restriction of her airways and the blood she lost.
“He then took the second woman upstairs and cut her throat as well, but she was not to die from her injuries. Once he realized he had not actually killed her — he had told her she would be dead within 10 minutes — she promised, in order to get herself out, that they could still be together and he appears to have fallen for that ruse,” Ayelett said.
He allegedly cut the second woman’s neck, chest and stomach and banged her head against the floor before sexually assaulting her.
Ayelett said Arshid put Dookhran’s body in the freezer and padlocked it shut. At this time, the second woman managed to get hold of one of the phones Arshid had taken from them and phoned her mother. Her mother informed the police by late afternoon of July 19 — the day they were abducted.
“Arshid realized the awful situation he had created for himself and he phoned his brother and took the second woman, who was still bleeding, to him,” Aylett told the court, adding that he put her in the passenger seat of his pick-up and drove to meet his brother.
“When Arshid’s brother saw the woman he realized how badly hurt she was and took her to the hospital, where she was able to tell police what had happened and where the house was,” Aylett was quoted by The Times as saying.
The police forced their way into the house and used a crowbar to open the freezer where they found Dookhran’s body. Arshid is said to have abandoned his car, and taken a train from London to Kent. He was caught that night at a hotel in Folkestone. The key for the padlock on the freezer was found with him.
Arshid is accused of sexual assault, kidnap, two rapes, murder, and attempted murder. He denies all the charges.