A man who killed two women and hid their bodies in a chest freezer has been found guilty of murder.
Zahid Younis, 36 was convicted at Southwark Crown Court today, (3 September) of murdering Mihrican Mustafa, 38 also known as ‘Mary Jane/Jan’, and Henriett Szucs, 34.
Their bodies were found in a freezer at Younis’ home in Canning Town on Saturday, 27 April 2019.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, Specialist Crime, said: “… I pay tribute to the victim’s families for their bravery, it must seem incomprehensible that their loved ones have lost their lives and then been found in such awful circumstances.
“Younis is a violent, manipulative man with a history of abusing and controlling vulnerable women, often with transient and chaotic lifestyles like Mihrican and Henriett. However they lived their lives, these women had families, friends, people who cared about them and they died in a truly awful manner…”
Police had attended Younis’ flat on Friday 26 April 2019, after a friend reported he was missing and she was concerned for his welfare. There was no answer and officers returned the following day. They forced entry and searched the address.
In a small cupboard containing a gas and electricity meter was also a small chest freezer. It was locked with items stacked on top and flies were gathering.
An officer forced it open with a crowbar and saw a large frozen shape and a foot in a grey Superman sock. It was the remains of Mihrican clothed and wrapped in plastic and a bedsheet. She was subsequently identified by a distinctive tattoo on her wrist, and later through familial DNA. A murder investigation was launched.
Henriett had not been seen for nearly three years while Mary Jane had been reported missing almost a year before. Both had been associated with Younis in the time leading up to their disappearance.
Both Henriett and Mihrican were vulnerable women living chaotic lifestyles, with periods of homelessness and drug addiction.
Henriett was a Hungarian national who came to the UK in 2012 and again in 2014, the last sighting of her was on 29 August 2016 but it’s thought she died close to 11 November 2016.
Mary Jane was last seen alive in early May 2018 and reported missing by her sister on 10 May. She had previously been seen with Younis in the local area and leaving his flat, and phone evidence showed they had been in contact.
During the period from when she was last seen in May 2018 and the discovery on April 27 2019, her family had been tireless searching for her whereabouts, setting up appeals and taking to the street looking for the mother of three.
Following extensive enquiries Younis was arrested on 30 April 2019 in W10 getting into a taxi. He told officers: “It’s my house, it’s my problem. No one else is involved.”
Younis charged initially in May 2019 with two counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body which he pleaded guilty to and in February 2020 with murder.
The family of Mihrican said: “Jan’s death has changed our family forever. From the moment we found out that she was missing, we spent every moment of every hour looking for her and we never for one minute gave up.
“When Jan didn’t come to her daughter’s birthday, she wrote:
“’To mummy – Please come back I really miss you. You missed my 11th birthday party (it was the worst party ever) I sat in the corner crying my eyes out looking at your pictures and reading your poems while in my head screaming, “where are you! Please mum, come back home.’
“Deep down I knew something wasn’t right because you would never leave your children. They were your world.
“The call from the police will never be forgotten, hearing them words confirming they found my Jan was never real, I still don’t believe it. The moment we told my Auntie and Jan’s children, with an ambulance on standby, breaks every part of me; seeing the pain and tears in their eyes.
“She was a gentle being, who still had her whole life ahead of her, to live and watch her children grow. My heart deeply goes out to her children, who are the strongest people that I know. The grief that they are going through compares to no other pain.
“Our family have lost a precious jewel; my Aunt Mary Jane Mustafa was an incredible Aunt, Mother, Sister and Daughter to her family.
“Jan was a fantastic mother. She adored her children. She loved to dance. She was artistic. She was creative. She was beautiful. She was friends with everybody and very funny. She celebrated life. She was optimistic. She never said anything bad about anybody. She would give her last penny to someone in need. She was an angel. She is an angel.
“Sister my angel. God has given you your assignment. Always my sister, forever my angel, you fly into my dreams when I’m asleep. I feel your wings brush against my face, wiping away the tears I shed since I can no longer hold you in my arms, but only in my heart.”
“The trial is over, justice has been done. ‘Closure,’ they say. Never. It will not bring my Jan back. I love you my Tilly and I know you are with me.”