Colindale allotment murder: Rahim Mohammadi jailed for minimum 19 years for killing of Lea Adri-Soejoko with lawnmower flex
PUBLISHED: 17:56 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 03 December 2018
An allotmenteer who strangled an 80-year-old grandmother with lawnmower flex in a Colindale shed will spend at least 19 years in jail for her murder.
Rahim Mohammadi, 42, of Goldsmiths Row, Haggerston, killed Lea Adri-Soejoku in a “hot-blooded” attack on February 28, 2017, leaving her body covered by a coat in a locked allotment hut in Sheaveshill Avenue.
Mrs Adri-Soejoko – also well-known by her maiden name of Lea Hulselmans – was found by police in the very early hours of the morning with a flex wrapped around her neck.
The mother and grandmother was secretary of the Colindale Allotments and Garden Association and was found with the keys to the locked shed in her pocket.
Mohammadi, a committee member, was one of only four people who had a key to the mower shed and the only one with no alibi.
The court heard that in a “violent, spontaneous, loss of temper” Mohammadi beat her during which her neck was fractured, five ribs were also fractured and she received several blows to the head.
The jury deliberated for two days before returning a verdict that a previous jury in January were unable to do.
Throughout the six week trial, the court heard that Mohammadi repeatedly lied about his actions on that day.
Judge Richard Marks QC, sentencing him at the Old Bailey today, said: “In the early hours of the morning her body was found in a locked mower shed. How bitterly ironic that the place she loved so much, the allotment, is the place where she met her death.”
He added: “It goes without saying although Lea was fit for her age. She was an elderly lady and as such, confronted and attacked by you as she was, was vulnerable in the extreme.”
He paid tribute to Mrs Adri-Soejoko’s family for dealing with the “long ordeal with admirable restraint.”
Reading a statement from the family in court, Mrs Adri-Soejoko’s granddaughter Amber Tomlinson, who lived with her, said; “Lea was our mother and grandmother, but she was also a sister, an aunty and a friend to so many.
“She gave her time, trust and forgiveness to all and at 80 years old she was not jaded or cynical.”
She added: “There was no way she nor we could have known what would happen – but she deserved so much more.
“She deserved more time and more respect. Her murder was a betrayal of the worst kind.
“All anyone hopes is for a peaceful and pain free end for their parents when the time comes. The agony of knowing what horror she endured and how she suffered is an indescribable torture, to which there is no closure.
“This can never be put right, erased or undone.”
Mrs Adri-Soejoko’s son Mark Adri-Soejoko, speaking outside court, said the sentence was “fair enough, it’s a long time and it’s a minimum”.
He added: “It was a very difficult trail. I knew he was lying and what he said was inconsistent.
What he said about his relationship with my mother [that Mrs Adri-Soejoko was like a mother to him], it would never have been like that.
“She was friendly, she would talk to him respectfully, but not have treated him like that. The first I heard of him was when he was arrested.”
He said: “It’s unimaginable. It doesn’t feel real – it will never feel real.
“We’ll never hear her again, never see her, hear her laugh, all those things. It has broken our hearts. There is no closure from something like this.”
Mrs Adri-Soejoko was reported missing by colleagues on February 28 when she failed to turn up to a 6pm meeting in Barnet.
Despite frantic calls by her daughter and granddaughter there was no answer on her mobile phone.
Police officers immediately searched the allotment while the family continued to phone her. The sound of a mobile phone ringing led them to a small mower shed, padlocked shut.
Det Chf Insp Noel McHugh, from the Met’s murder squad, said: “Although I never had the privilege of meeting Lea, we have learnt what a lovely caring, lady she was, like everyone’s mum or gran. She was a real pillar of the community, a sprightly 80-year-old grandmother who was very active in her local neighbourhood.
“This crime has torn their family apart and sent shockwaves through a close-knit community. Mohammadi is a violent, evil, and volatile individual and he will spend many years in prison as a result of his appalling actions.”