LONDON: A builder accused of kidnapping, raping and slashing two young women has blamed one of his alleged victims of killing the other in a fit of jealousy. Mujahid Arshid, 33, is on trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of 20-year-old Barclays bank worker Celine Dookhran and the attempted murder of her friend in July last year. The surviving woman, who needed surgery for cuts to her neck and wrists, has told jurors how the pair were snatched by Arshid and labourer Vincent Tappu and taken to a disused house bound and gagged.
While there, she said Arshid raped them both before slitting Ms Dookhran’s throat and stuffing her body into a freezer. The woman texted her boyfriend that she had been “kidnapped” and messaged her mother saying: “He’s going to kill me.” She told jurors how she managed to escape by persuading Arshid she loved him and they could be together, after he attacked her too with a knife.
The prosecution alleges Arshid was obsessed with the women and abducted them to satisfy his own sexual fantasies. But a defence barrister asserted the women willingly went to the house in Kingston, south west London, where they both had consensual sex with Arshid.
She said the defendant claims the witness attacked Ms Dookhran with a knife because she was “jealous” at finding them together in a bedroom. Weeping in the witness box, the young woman repeatedly disagreed with his account of how they both came to suffer cuts, saying: “Why would I do it to myself?” Judith Khan QC said: “Is the true situation you had gone into that address of your own free will and you were not being restrained there?” The witness insisted she had been taken into a utility room and her hands were tied around a pipe.
The witness, who cannot be identified, wholly rejected Ms Khan’s version of events. Arshid, of no fixed address, denies murder, attempted murder, rape of both women and the previous sexual assault and assault by penetration of the surviving woman when she was about 13. Together with labourer Vincent Tappu, 28, from Acton, west London, he has also pleaded not guilty to the women’s kidnap and false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm with intent.