Joy Morgan murder trial: Jury consider verdict after Cricklewood man denies he had sex with missing student

Joy Morgan. Photo: Herts Police

Joy Morgan. Photo: Herts Police - Credit: Archant

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the case of a married Cricklewood father accused of murdering a missing midwifery student who went to his church.

Missing Joy Morgan has links to Cricklewood. Picture: Herts Police

Missing Joy Morgan has links to Cricklewood. Picture: Herts Police - Credit: Archant

Shohfah-El Israel is alleged to have killed 20-year-old Joy Morgan in December.

The University of Hertfordshire student has not been seen since Boxing Day and a body has never been recovered, Reading Crown Court has heard.

Ms Morgan and Israel were members of the Israel United in Christ church in Ilford, east London - which, the trial heard, has rules including a ban on pre-marital sex and women being alone with men other than their husbands.

Israel, whose birth name is Ajibola Shogbamimu, has been described by the prosecution as a "thoroughly dishonest and manipulative" man who initially lied to police and hid that Ms Morgan had stayed at his flat for two nights.

Giving evidence, he said he allowed her to stay because she was "upset" and that she revealed to him she was "leaving the church".

He dismissed any suggestion he had sex with her, saying she had slept on a sofa bed and he "did not see her that way at all".

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But the prosecution has argued that Ms Morgan, who the court heard had a difficult background and craved "familial love", was happy in the church and had "no intention" of leaving.

The jury was shown a video taken less than two weeks before she went missing in which she described it as "the best family that I've ever had".

Ms Morgan's phone, which has never been found, was detected in the defendant's car in the Stevenage area after she went missing, and the keys to her accommodation were found in the passenger footwell of the car.

No forensic evidence has been presented linking the defendant to the alleged death of Ms Morgan.

Police searched hundreds of acres of land over several days earlier this year but did not find a body and nor were cops able to corroborate any sightings of her.

The defendant, who is originally from Nigeria and has lived in the UK for 22 years, denies killing Ms Morgan between December 26 and December 30.