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Celine Dookhran trial: Freezing body search a 'coincidence'

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Celine Dookhran was found dead in an empty house in Kingston, south-west London

A man accused of raping and murdering his niece has told a court it was “pure coincidence” that he made internet searches on freezing a human body a few weeks before her death.

Celine Dookhran was found dead in a freezer in a house in Kingston, south-west London, on 19 July last year.

Mujahid Arshid, 33, told the Old Bailey he had carried out the internet search after watching a documentary about people living in Alaska.

He denies all the charges.

He is also accused of kidnapping, raping and attempting to murder a second woman who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Mr Arshid told the jury it was “pure coincidence” he had carried out an internet search for “at what temperature does the human body freeze to death” weeks before 20-year-old Ms Dookhran was killed.

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Mujahid Arshid denies raping and murdering his niece

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC also asked the 33-year-old about internet searches for “acid bath murderer” which were discovered on his personal laptop.

The court heard the searches pulled up information on a notorious serial killer, John George Haigh, who was convicted in 1949 of a number of murders where he had disposed of the bodies using acid.

Mr Arshid admitted carrying out the search but said it was because he had been wanting to start manufacturing and selling an acid-based product to unblock drains.

He said he was going to call the product “Haigh it’s gone!” using a pun on the murderers name which he described as “funny”.

“Where’s the comedy?” Mr Aylett replied.

Mr Arshid was later asked about a series of text messages he had sent to his wife several hours after the alleged crimes where he told his wife “a darkness came over me.”

He told the court he had been in a “hysterical state of mind” at the time and that he may have been having a psychotic break when he sent the messages.

The trial continues.

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