A 34-year-old man appeared in court today after being charged with preventing the lawful burial of two women whose bodies were found in a freezer in his flat.
Zarhid Younis, 34, was arrested after police discovered the victims in the ground floor flat where he lived in Canning Town, East London, last Friday morning.
Younis appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in South West London today charged with two counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body.
The court heard friends raised concern over Younis’s whereabouts – and electricity had not been paid on the flat, causing it to be cut off and the freezer to fail.
Scotland Yard launched a murder probe but detectives say it could take a week to identify the clothed bodies, which were fused together in a small chest freezer.
Forensics officers leave the flat in Canning Town, east London, while investigating on Monday
Post-mortem examinations will begin on the pair tomorrow, and a 50-year-old who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released under investigation.
Mary Jane Mustafa, 38, a mother-of-two who went missing in May last year and lived locally before she vanished, has been linked to the flat where the bodies were found.
This morning, Younis appeared at court in a grey tracksuit and was remanded in custody by magistrate Laura Lewis to appear at the Old Bailey next Tuesday.
Jessica Gill, prosecuting, said: ‘There was concern raised for Mr Younis by friends for his whereabouts. He was not seen from April 25 to 26.
‘The friends of the defendant became concerned for his welfare. Attempts were made to contact him to no avail.
A police forensics tent was put in the back garden of the property in Canning Town on Monday
‘Police came to the address on April 27 and discovered two partially decomposed bodies inside a chest freezer.’
Ms Gill told the court that the electricity had not been paid on the property, causing it to be cut off and the freezer to fail.
Mary Jane Mustafa, 38, lived locally before she went missing last May and has been linked to the flat where the bodies were found
‘Due to the nature of the discovery no post-mortem was possible yet. The post-mortem is due tomorrow,’ she added.
‘The police conducted further searches and the defendant was found in an address. Further investigation is ongoing.’
Yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said identification could take days as the crime scene is ‘one of the most challenging and complex’ he has seen in 28 years.
He told reporters: ‘It’s such an unusual scene. I haven’t really seen something like this where the nature of the two bodies being frozen as they are.
‘They are clothed, which I can say, and that’s also causing a complexity to it as we wait to start a post-mortem.’
Mr Harding said there were no signs of any injuries on the women and he explained it was too complex to say whether they were ‘whole’.
He added: ‘They are in a chest freezer. One body on top of the other. Being in a chest freezer anyway has caused the bodies to fuse.’
Police on scene outside the building in Canning Town where two bodies have been found
He could not say whether the pair were adults and said DNA testing is under way as detectives work with the National Crime Agency and missing persons groups to find out who they are.
‘We could be a week away from identifying them,’ he said. Police said the apartment had been used by ‘transient members of the community’ and linked to drugs.
Mr Harding appealed for anyone who has visited the flat in the past year, or knows anyone who has, to come forward.
He said: ‘I would appeal to anyone who has visited this address over the last year, or has information about people who frequented the property, to come forward and speak to my team.
‘I am aware that casts a wide net in terms of my appeal but we do need to build up an accurate picture of life at that flat and what occurred there.’
There are fears for mother Mary-Jane Mustafa, 37, who went missing last May. Her family were seen at the flat on Tuesday as they desperately waited for information.
Her cousin Ayse Hussein, 46, said: ‘If it is my cousin, it’s just going to be a waiting game. They just have to confirm it.
‘How they have been found, they can’t just do it. It’s going to take days.’
The family said police are keeping them updated on developments but they still hope Ms Mustafa will be found alive.
Her older sister Mel Mustafa, 47, said: ‘She is the most kind-hearted person you could meet and I still don’t believe it’s her.’
She added: ‘I wish the police would have listened to us earlier. They failed and I’m not scared to admit it any more.’
Detectives have been searching two addresses in east London and another in Ladbroke Grove, West London.
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