James Dowdell, of West Brompton, was found found dead on February 17, with a post-mortem ruling the cause of death was blunt force trauma and compression of the neck.
Mohammed Assri was found in possession of James’ personal items and a large sum of blood-stained cash, and it quickly emerged that he had taken over his victim’s life.
The 47-year-old was found guilty of Mr Dowdell’s murder in a trial at Isleworth Court today, September 7.
According to Met Police, Assri made a frantic call to officers reporting he had turned up at an address in St Mark’s Grove, SW10, to find James dead.
Officers and paramedics attended, and pronounced James dead at the scene, where Assri was also arrested in possession of a number of the victim’s items.
Detectives launched a murder investigation, and found an ‘unclear’ relationship between the victim and suspect.
Assri claimed his name was Adam and that James was his uncle, but in truth Assri had been homeless prior to moving into James’ flat in late January.
He quickly took control, seeking to exclude James’ carers and taking over his finances, using his Halifax debit card regularly, and also pawning a valuable watch-strap.
Officers discovered Assri had lied about his whereabouts in the hours before James’ death to displace himself from the crime scene.
He said he had been at his sister’s house at 4:45pm that day, and later returned to James’s house and performed CPR for 30 minutes before calling an ambulance at 6:45pm.
But detectives found the truth,with CCTV cameras showing Assri in the vicinity of his sister’s house 12 hours before he claimed, and James’s pacemaker registering heart failure nearly two hours before an ambulance was called.
A post-mortem examination revealed bruising on James’s wrists and marks to his hand suggesting that he had tried to defend himself from the fatal attack, and gave cause of death as blunt force trauma and compression of the neck.
The court heard Assri insist that James’s injuries were sustained by falling and were self-inflicted. This was disproved by pathologists and medical evidence.
Detective Inspector Maria Green from Specialist Crime said:
“I would like to thank the witnesses who spoke in court for their courage in giving evidence.
“Assri is a violent and manipulative man who has taken no responsibility for his actions, using his appearance at court as an attempt to dishonour the memory and life of James. I hope that James’s family and friends can draw some strength from seeing justice done.”
+ If you are a victim of domestic abuse or are worried about someone else please have the confidence to approach police or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. It doesn’t matter what your lifestyle is, we will help.
If you need urgent help and cannot talk, dial 999 and press 55 to let the operator know the call has not been made in error.
Assri will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, 20 November.