Mujahid Arshid, 33, tried to flee to Pakistan, via Frankfurt, after raping and murdering his 20-year-old niece Celine Dookhran, at a house in Kingston-upon-Thames, south west London.
But his cellphone was traced by police to a Holiday Inn not far from the port of Dover in Kent, where he was arrested and on Wednesday, February 14, he was convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey in London.
Giving evidence Arshid tried to blame the survivor — who cannot be identified for legal reasons — and claimed she killed Celine after becoming jealous after he had consensual sex with both women.
Arshid ran a building firm and had been hired by the owner of the house, Mohammed Ismail, to convert it into luxury flats.
But it is doubtful now whether anybody will ever want to live at 53 Coombe Lane West.
On July 19 last year Arshid took advantage of a family row to explore his deepest sexual fantasies.
Celine's mother — who was the sister of Arshid's wife Aisha — disapproved of Celine's boyfriend, Omar Khmag, partly because he was from Libya and not India or Pakistan.
Celine had been staying at Arshid's home in Mitcham, south London, because of the tension but there had been a huge row on the night of July 18 and Celine had threatened to run away.
The following morning Arshid, wearing a ski mask and gloves and armed with a Taser he had bought on eBay, kidnapped Celine and the other woman and took them to the house in Kingston.
The survivor, a woman in her 20s, said Arshid raped Celine and then ordered her to climb into the freezer, but then let her out before killing her upstairs.
She said he also tried to get her to get into the freezer, but she refused.
Accused 'body in freezer' killer, builder Mujahid Arshid, says two balaclavas found at the crime scene were bought from Sports Direct to stop dust getting up his nose when working on Victorian houses.— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) 31 January 2018
She texted her boyfriend at one point: "Don't message or call. Or reply. I have been kid booed [sic]. Kidnapped."
Later she texted her mother: "He's going to kill me. Don't reply."
The survivor said he raped her and Celine, slashing the 20-year-old's throat in the bath before dragging her body downstairs and dumping it in a chest freezer he had brought to the house two days later specifically for the purpose.
"All I could see was her legs sticking out. I had to act like it was not affecting me," the survivor told the court.
She said she then managed to talk Arshid out of killing her, saying she loved him and convincing him they could live together once her injuries had healed.
Arshid padlocked the freezer before returning home briefly to collect his passport and Pakistan identity card.
The girl escaped and eventually alerted the police.
The killer left his blue Nissan Navara pick-up truck near New Malden station in south west London before catching a train to Dover.
When he was arrested in his hotel room in the early hours of the morning detectives found a mass of evidence, including Celine's iPhone, the other victim's Michael Kors wallet and a key which fitted the padlock on the freezer.
When it came to his trial in January and February 2018 Arshid, faced with a mountain of forensic evidence and the testimony of the survivor, was forced to concoct one of the most preposterous defenses ever mounted in a British court.
"You spoke to Tappu to enlist his help to kidnap your wife’s niece and the other woman to play out a sexual fantasy,” prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said to Arshid https://t.co/wd7Z61ymUv— Naomi Canton (@naomi2009) 2 February 2018
But his tissue of lies was exposed with brutal professionalism by the prosecutor, Crispin Aylett QC.
Back in 2014 Arshid had been questioned by detectives after an undercover police officer posing as a pedophile chatted with him online about his fantasies of raping the second victim, who was then a teenager. He also sent the undercover officer a photograph of the second victim.
Arshid was never charged because he told officers the chatlog was the work of a laborer, Zahid, who had taken advantage of his generosity when Arshid had given him his internet router password.
Arshid had claimed he had later confronted Zahid, who had admitted writing the chatlog, but by the time the police came to see him he had lost touch with Zahid after falling out with him.
The trial jury heard Arshid assaulted one of the women with a vibrator which he had brought to the house in Kingston, along with condoms and Mr. Aylett probed the similarities with the online sex fantasies.
From the man accused of raping and murdering his niece: "I hate Harry Potter, I hate Harry Potter so much, oh I really hate Harry Potter. I would never disrespect my own computer by typing something to do with Harry Potter."— Tristan Kirk (@kirkkorner) 30 January 2018
"So your disgruntled ex-employee, Zahid, apparently had that same fantasy about using a vibrator on (the second victim)?" Mr. Aylett asked Arshid, as he gave evidence in the witness box.
"That chatlog is a load of rubbish," replied Arshid.
"You're not getting off on this are you Mr. Arshid? Saying as many revolting things as you can about (the second victim)?" added Mr. Aylett.
"No. It's not that I like saying revolting things. I feel a lot of regret about those injuries she got but I was fighting for my life," said Arshid, who claimed he had to defend himself when the second victim attacked him with a knife after she killed Celine.
Later Arshid was asked why he had sex — which he claimed was consensual — with the second victim in the house in Coombe Lane West.
"Can I be honest?" Arshid replied, "A man is a man innit. When the prospect of sex comes along a man would drop his pants to do what he has to do. Any man in this court would do that," he added.
Arshid says another search on infamous acid bath murderer John Haigh was him, but only because he was developing a cleaning product which he planned to call 'Haigh it's gone!'— Tristan Kirk (@kirkkorner) 30 January 2018
Earlier Arshid claimed he decided to take Celine and the other woman to the house in Kingston so they could "have a nice day out."
He said he wanted Celine to "calm down" and stop talking about running away.
"She loved my car so it was just a distraction. It was just time out of the house, having a laugh and a joke and forgetting the drama of the night before," claimed Arshid.
Mr. Aylett asked him why they had left in such a rush that Celine did not call her work to explain her absence and was still in her pyjamas when she got in the car.
Arshid claimed it was "no big deal" and said she had brought her clothes with her.
Mr. Aylett then asked him about how he showed the two women how to bypass the electricity meter at the house in Coombe Lane West.
"Did Celine cheer up after you showed her how to bypass the electricity meter?" asked Mr. Aylett, gently mocking the defendant.
"I know it's not the most exciting thing to do but yes, at that moment were listening to music and having a laugh," Arshid claimed before he went off on a major rant about the electricity companies without realizing how tactless and damaging it was to his own case.
"All those energy companies steal money from people every day. They commit murder every day. They put their prices up every winter. Old age pensioners die because they don't have the money. Nobody wants to hold the electricity companies to account. So what's the problem if somebody wants to take a bit back off them?" ranted Arshid.
Arshid claimed he had consensual sex with the second victim and then, when she went downstairs, and then had intercourse with Celine, but again insisted she gave her consent.
He claimed the second woman then "burst into the room" and "was going crazy."
"I left them to it and went outside to my truck," said Arshid, who claimed he returned shortly after to find Celine dead in the bath and the second woman staying over her looking "like a moron".
The police were alerted about Celine's disappearance just before 5pm and the trial was told of text messages which Arshid exchanged with his wife Aisha over the next few hours.
At 7.22pm she texted him to say: "You're not getting away with this."
"With what?" he replied.
"You f***ing psycho," wrote Aisha.
At 7.45pm she wrote: "You've proved everyone right."
"Whatever I am you made me. You and those bitches," replied Arshid.
A minute later, as Aisha pressed him for details of what he had done to Celine, he texted her: "I begged you to let me leave so many times."
"So you attacked them. And killed Celine" texted Aisha.
"They attacked me," Arshid replied.
"You just watch," Aisha warned him.
"A darkness came over me," Arshid replied.
"Where is Celine…we need to find her. Tell us," his wife asked him.
Aisha then drove to Kingston but was unable to find the house in Kingston.
At 8.02pm she texted him to ask for the address of the house but he changed the subject and claimed Celine had run away.
At 8.06pm he texted her: "I'll call you from Pakistan."
She replied: "Don't…You're dead to me."
"So is Celine apparently?" texted Arshid.
"If only you had let me go when I asked you over and over," he added.
At around 9.30pm he boarded the train at New Malden and by 11pm he was at the Holiday Inn in Folkestone, not far from the entrance to the Channel Tunnel and the port of Dover.
Mr. Ismail and his wife refused to speak to Sputnik about Arshid.
At the Old Bailey where Mujahid Arshid is accused of raping & murdering his niece and raping another young woman. Forensic scientists giving evidence today about blood spatter and DNA found in the bathroom and bedroom of house where Celine Dookhran was killed. Trial continues— Total Crime (@totalcrime) 26 January 2018
The Murderer's Fantasies
David Wilson, an emeritus professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, said Arshid's fantasies were about misogynistic violence and control.
"If you take that to its logical conclusion the ultimate fantasy is indeed sadly, for this type of person, death because you literally have in your hands the power to decide if somebody lives or dies," said Prof. Wilson.
Professor Wilson said he had done some research about the motivation of sex abusers and pedophiles and he believed they used pornography and child abuse images to explore their fantasies but eventually had to act them out in the flesh.
"The fantasy evolves and evolves over the course of time. You might start out fantasizing about something very broad, like an attraction to fair-skinnned, blue-eyed, sporty, blonde-haired, big-busted women but by the end you are really focusing on something very specific," Prof. Wilson told Sputnik.
"The next stage after that is that you move from the fantasy to the reality. Even if you're fantasizing about something very specific you want to make that fantasy happen and therefore you construct all kinds of ways to enact that and I was always astounded by the ingenuity of people who wanted to make their fantasies real," Prof. Wilson told Sputnik.
He said there had clearly been an element of planning in what Arshid did, for example the purchase of the chest freezer, the Taser and the ski mask.
But he said Arshid also had to act spontaneously when the women resisted.
"It was only when he tried to get them to go into the deep freeze, when they were going ‘no, we're not going to do that', that he realized that the fantasies he had were not being enacted in real life," Prof. Wilson told Sputnik.
He said it was possible that, if Arshid had not been arrested, he might have used the frozen body of Celine as a "trophy" for some time after her death.
Prof. Wilson said the second woman was only allowed to live when Arshid convinced himself that he could retain control of her.
"He probably felt he could control her behavior after he left the environment of the house where he had taken her. We simply don't know what might have been going on in his head. It may have been that by that stage he wanted to escape to Pakistan in any event, so he may have reasoned that if she lived it did not matter," Prof. Wilson told Sputnik.
Victim's Relatives Celebrate Verdict
Arshid was jailed for life on February 14, with the judge setting a minimum term of 40 years before he would be eligible for parole.
Some of Ms. Dookhran's relatives in the public gallery shouted "yes" when the verdicts were read out but Arshid shouted at and tried to blame the survivor.
Arshid, whose family are believed to have disowned him, will be 73 before he will even be eligible for parole.
His co-defendant, and former employee, Vincent Tappu, 28, was cleared of kidnapping Celine and walked free.
"Flashbacks and nightmares prevent me from moving on," the survivor said after the verdict and the scars she bore were a "constant reminder of what Celine and I went through," she added.
"Celine fell victim to pure evil," said Celine's mother, Iman Dookhran, who added that Celine "will always be there in the darkness that surrounds us."