Colindale allotment murder trial: Alleged killer and 80-year-old victim had ‘son and mum’ relationship, court hears
- Credit: Archant
The relationship between an alleged murderer and the 80-year-old woman he is accused of killing was that of “a mother and son”, a court heard.
The body of Lea Adri-Soejoko – also well-known by her maiden name of Lea Hulselmans – was found by police with a flex around her neck in a locked shed in Sheaveshill Avenue on February 28, 2017.
Rahim Mohammadi, 42, of Goldsmith Road, Hackney, stands accused of murdering the widow at an Old Bailey retrial.
Mrs Adri-Soejoko was the secretary of the Colindale Allotments Association and Mohammadi a member of the same committee.
Defence witness Ishmaeil Entikabi, a plot holder and friend of the accused, told the court Mohammadi would do jobs around the allotment.
He said he was close to Mrs Adri-Soejoko, who told him she had offered to pay Mohammadi for his work.
Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Entikabi said: “She was very close to me and she also liked Rahim because of the hard work he was doing.”
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Asked by prosecutor John Price QC if Mohammadi had told him of these payments, or whether he’d asked him about them, he said “no, why should I?”
The plot holder, who was returning from Norway on the day of the alleged murder, spoke to the police several times after Mrs Adri-Soejoko’s death, telling them there was some activity related drugs on the allotment.
He had told Mrs Adri-Soejoko about the problem but had not told police until after she was killed. He said they did not take a statement.
Mr Price asked: “Did you tell them [police] Mohammadi and Lea were like mother and son?
“Where had you first heard that expression of Mrs Adri Soejoko and Mr Mohammadi?”
Mr Entikabi said: “It was what I saw with my own eyes. The relationship was like son and mum – it was a kind relationship.”
The court heard Mohammadi suffered from post traumatic stress disorder related to torture in Iran, which was complicated by depression and alcohol abuse.
Mr Entikabi said he spoke to Mohammadi, who was in police custody in hospital, following the alleged murder. Mr Entikabi added: “He said: ‘I haven’t done it. I’m innocent.’ That is all.”
Det Con Jonathan Hurley, from the Met, said police did not follow up information about drugs because it was “too vague” and they did not believe the killing to be drug-related.
Mrs Adri-Soejoko was reported missing by colleagues on February 28 when she failed to turn up to a meeting in Barnet.
Despite frantic calls by her family there was no answer on her mobile phone.
They accompanied police officers searching the allotment and the sound of a mobile phone ringing led them to a small mower shed, padlocked shut.
When they forced open the door they found Mrs Adri-Soejoko’s lifeless body inside, covered with an old blue coat.
She had the plastic handle of a Mountfield lawnmower pressed against her neck and the starter cord used as a ligature and “wrapped tight against her neck”, the court heard earlier this month.
Mohammadi denies murder. The trial continues.