A suspected double killer who allegedly kept his victims’ bodies in a freezer for nearly three years told police when questioned: ‘It’s my house, it’s my problem’, a court heard.
Hungarian Henriett Szucs, 34, vanished after moving in with accused murderer Zahid Younis, 35, and was last seen alive in the summer of 2016.
Mihrican Mustafa, 38, had also been visiting Younis at his home in Canning Town, east London, before she disappeared in May 2018.
The corpses of the two women were found together in a small chest freezer at his home during a police search on April 27 last year, Southwark Crown Court was told today.
They had both suffered appalling injuries including multiple broken ribs and Ms Mustafa’s sternum and larynx were also fractured.
Ms Szucs had been in the UK for several years and was last seen in Younis’ company in the summer of 2016, jurors were told.
Ms Mustafa, also known as MJ and Jan, struggled with drug addiction and homelessness and had also been spending time with Younis before she vanished in May 2018, it was said.
The alleged killer bought the freezer for the ‘sole purpose’ of hiding Ms Szcucs’ body after the brutal killing on or before 11 November 2016, it was said.
Younis left the dock claiming he felt unwell after the jury entered court today and was led down to the cells.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny, QC, said: ‘On the morning of 27 April 2019 police officers attended a one bedroom ground floor flat in Canning Town.
‘They were looking for this defendant, Zahid Younis.
‘He was not to be found at that address that day. However, within the flat, immediately on the right-hand side, was a small meter cupboard in which the gas and electricity meter is located.
‘In that cupboard one of the police officers noticed a small chest freezer.
‘He noticed that this lockable freezer was locked and that there were flies forming around the freezer and that items including a zimmer type frame had been stacked on top of the freezer.
‘In due course, with a crowbar, the officer forced the lid of the freezer and he made a very grim discovery indeed.
‘Contained within that small chest freezer were the remains of two women.’
The prosecutor said Younis was ‘closely connected’ to both victims in the weeks leading up to their deaths.
He said: ‘Such scientific examination as was possible on their remains established that prior to their death each of them had been the victim of significant injury.
‘Each of them appeared to have been subjected to very significant violence; each, for example, had numerous rib fractures – sustained at some time in the period leading up to their deaths.
‘Henriett had also received dreadful injuries to her head, whilst Jan’s sternum and larynx had been fractured.
‘You may conclude at the conclusion of this trial that each of these women had met a most untimely and unnatural death.
‘Both were known to have associated with the defendant in the weeks leading up to their disappearance.
‘When police conducted a search, property belonging to each of them was found in various places in the premises.
‘Whilst the blood of one (Henriett) was in due course discovered in various places on the carpets which at the time of her death had been laid throughout the house, in the case of Mihrican a fingerprint from her left forefinger was found on the edge of the door to the oven on the cooker in the kitchen.
‘Her mobile telephone, which a number of independent strands of evidence suggest had been active and used in the address in the period very shortly before her disappearance, as well as numerous other items of her personal property were discovered in different locations around the defendant’s address.
‘The prosecution case is that this defendant, who was both the occupant and the tenant of that address throughout the relevant period, had murdered each of these women and that thereafter he sought to conceal their remains in the freezer bought for that sole purpose – most probably a short time after the death of the first of the woman, Henriett.
‘In the intervening periods it would appear that there were periods when the electricity supply was disconnected – contributing to some decomposition of the bodies by the time they were discovered in April 2019.
‘Come April 2019, however, the defendant had become so acutely conscious of what was contained within that freezer, and the risk of discovery – if not just from the odour that emitted from the freezer, that it appears that he had chosen to abandon the address.
‘Both of his victims, Henriett and Mihrican, were vulnerable women living somewhat chaotic lives, characterised by periods of homelessness and addiction to class A drugs.
‘The evidence demonstrates that both were closely connected to the defendant in the days and weeks before they were last seen – in Henriett’s case in August 2016, and in Mihrican’s case in May 2018.
‘As I have touched upon, the bodies of both women had suffered severe violence, and in Mihrican’s case there appears to be good evidence that she was strangled or at least suffered significant blunt trauma to the structures of the neck.
‘Small wonder then that when he was arrested outside an address in west London on 30 April 2019 his immediate response to being apprehended was to say to the police officers who detained him ‘It’s my house, it’s my problem. No one else is involved.’
The prosecutor added: ‘This was a message which he was to repeat to a police officer in the cells at Kingston police station where he was taken later that day.
‘Whilst he shared that with the officer in the cells, however, in police interview the defendant chose to answer no comment to questions he was asked.
‘The defendant has, however, pleaded not guilty to the killings with which you are concerned.
‘In that regard you will hear that if the prosecution is correct in its assertion that these two poor unfortunate women were the victims of his violence, then they were not alone.
‘You will hear that the defendant is indeed a man with the ability and the disposition to manipulate and to seek to control vulnerable women – capable of seeking to dominate them, to subject them to his will and if necessary, of resorting to violence.’
Younis, of Vandome Close, denies two counts of murder.
The trial continues.