‘Walter Mitty’ Syrian cook and Romanian delivery driver strangled millionairess, 71, with a hairdryer cord then dumped her body in a wheelie bin in £4.6m scam to steal her life savings
Two killers who occupied a millionairess’s £1.3m home and strangled her to death when she refused to sell it to them are facing life sentences after being found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey today.
Syrian cook Kusai Al-Jundi, 28, and his Romanian delivery driver Mohammed El-Abboud, 24, slayed Louise Kam, 71, inside her north London home on July 26 2021, after their scheme to rob her of her £4.6m fortune went south.
Al-Jundi, branded a ‘Walter Mitty’ type character at trial and El-Abboud, described as a ‘homeless gypsy boy’, callously dumped the woman’s body in a wheelie bin before texting her family from her phone to tell them she had ‘gone to China’.
Mrs Kam had driven her BMW to her four-bedroom semi-detached home on Gallants Farm Road, East Barnet, thinking a lawyer would be there to finalise the sale of the property.
But as she sat in a chair the killers approached her from behind to strangle her with the flex of a hairdryer belonging to El-Abboud – who had arrived to the country without a work visa just two months earlier.
Mohammed El-Abboud, 24, described as a ‘homeless gypsy boy’, helped murder tragic millionairess Louise Kam, 71
Mrs Kam had driven her BMW to her four-bedroom semi-detached home on Gallants Farm Road, East Barnet, thinking a lawyer would be there to finalise the sale of the property. However she was murdered when she refused to sign the property over
She was also hit over the head with a blunt object before her body was wrapped in bin bags and a duvet and bundled into the bin outside her home where it was covered with garden waste.
On the morning after Mrs Kam’s death, Al-Jundi paid £60 each to a group of workmen to bring a van to move the bin to his family’s home on Wood End Road, in Harrow, northwest London.
He sent messages to Mrs Kam’s friends and family pretending she was alive and well but had gone away.
On the afternoon they killed her, El-Abboud advertised Ms Kam’s black BMW 3 Series convertible on his Facebook account and sold it to an unsuspecting buyer, pretending it was his own car.
The court heard Al-Jundi was a ‘Walter Mitty’ character who bragged that he was a millionaire with a string of beautiful girlfriends.
In fact, he was a penniless cook working at the Yasmeen Shamin kebab house in Willesden High Road with a wife and three children.
But he conned women to try and attain the lifestyle he thought he deserved and had stolen two cars from one victim in her sixties after declaring his undying love for her.
This Audi TT was stolen from another woman by the two men, El-Abboud and Al-Jundi, who strangled Louise Kam and dumped her body in a bin, it is alleged
Al-Jundi told Mrs Kam he loved her too, hoping she would sign her property portfolio over to him.
He and his friend El-Abboud, described in court as a ‘homeless gypsy boy’, killed her when she refused.
They denied murder, but Al-Jundi has never offered any explanations for his actions.
El-Abboud blamed him and claimed he was actually asleep when the chef killed Mrs Kam.
The jury convicted them both of murder after a two month trial and they now face life sentences on a date to be fixed.
Mrs Kam was a divorcee who had a business premises and a block of flats near Al-Jundi’s restaurant.
She owned those properties outright but had a mortgage on the house at in Barnet and lived in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
Mrs Kam wanted to sell the properties to give money to her children and Al-Jundi offered her £6 million, far above the market value.
He told her his backer was a girlfriend woman called ‘Anna’ and Mrs Kam was even sent voice-note messages purportedly coming from her.
‘Anna’ was Anna Reich – a restaurant customer who had already been a victim of Kusai Al-Jundi’s dishonesty.
She agreed to sell him her two cars, a Toyota Rav 4 and an Audi TT for £57,000.
Although the cars were handed over, Mrs Reich never saw a penny of the money.
Al-Jundi sent her messages telling her: ‘I love you, I want you. Anna, no one else is inside my heart. I love you because I want you, yes I need you, every time I need you.’
Mrs Reich said: ‘He has been psychologically manipulating me all this time.
‘My intention was to get the money for the car and get out of that situation as quickly as possible.
‘He never paid me a penny, not even a penny…no cash or transfer, nothing. He was very creative.’
Al-Jundi wanted Mrs Reich to be a stooge to help him con Mrs Kam, but she refused when he asked her to come to meetings to act as an ‘interpreter.’
Thinking he was going to buy the house, Mrs Kam had given Al Jundi the keys and he allowed his accomplice El-Abboud to move in.
The court heard El-Abboud was dazzled by Al-Jundi, who promised him a fortune and gave him Mrs Reich’s Audi TT.
El-Abboud had been in the country a couple of months and had no right to work but had found employment at a Deliveroo rider and a warehouse worker at Disney in Coventry.
In the Midlands he met Romanian national and part-time model Maria Amariucai, who would pose in the bragging TikTok videos El-Abboud made at Mrs Kam’s house and was a key witness in the case.
She became Al-Jundi’s girlfriend and was at the house in Barnet when Mrs Kam arrived, thinking Al-Jundi and El-Abboud were about to make her a very wealthy woman.
But prosecutor Oliver Glasgow told the court: ‘Louise Kam was the victim of a careful and cunning plan by Kusai Al-Jundi to defraud her.
‘When that plan did not work out as planned, he and Mohamed El-Abboud killed her.
‘The two of them then set about trying to cover up her murder and doubtless they assumed they would be able to profit in some way from her death.
‘It does not matter who overpowered her, who wrapped the flex around her neck, or who bundled her lifeless corpse into the bin.
‘What matters is that the two of them did this together and that each supported the other in the plan to kill her, to dispose of her body and to try to profit from her death.’
Al-Jundi had tricked Mrs Kam into signing a power of attorney document and probably believed that if she was dead he would own her properties.
After the killing, Al-Jundi celebrated by taking Ms Amariucai to a jeweller on Willesden High Road and buying her a pair of earrings for £580.
Mr Glasgow said this was ‘a generous gift for someone who had no money, but he no doubt believed that, with Louise Kam dead and armed with a signed power of attorney, he was in possession of two valuable properties.
‘It would seem that he was celebrating, but the shopping trip had a dual purpose.
‘Not only was he treating his girlfriend to gifts that would impress her, but this must have been a very public attempt to provide an alibi.’
Later that day El-Abboud drove Ms Amariucai back to Coventry and confessed to being the one who had strangled her to death.
‘He said he could not really believe that he had killed that lady,’ Ms Amariucai told the jury.
‘He told me it was to do with a business agreement between the Chinese woman and Kusai. He said he (El-Abboud) had taken her from behind.
‘He said Kusia told him to kill the Chinese woman. Kusai was going to give him a share of the money.’
As her frantic family searched for Mrs Kam, Al-Jundi sent them messages from her phone pretending she had ‘gone to China.’
‘Little did those closest to her realise that when they were replying to those messages, Louise Kam was already dead,’ Mr Glasgow said.
‘He even had the audacity to claim that she had deceived him and that she had left the country taking his money with her.’
Three days after the murder, police found Mrs Kam’s body at the house in Wood End Road, Harrow, where Al-Jundi was living with his mum and dad.
‘Upon closer inspection the police could see the outline of a shoe wrapped in plastic, which was in turn wrapped in a duvet cover,’ Mr Glasgow said.
‘It became clear there were human remains inside the bin.
‘Her head had been wrapped in three black plastic bags. Her body had been wrapped in a duvet and her feet and lower legs had been wrapped in two black plastic bags and taped up.’
A pathologist found Mrs Kam had suffered multiple bruising, a fractured spine and blunt impact to the head during a struggle or collapse.
Al-Jundi, of Harrow, and El-Abboud, whose last address was Gallants Farm Road, Barnet, both denied Ms Kam’s murder but were convicted.
They will be sentenced on February 1 but the Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft said of the victim: ‘She was brutally murdered and left to be taken away in the rubbish.’
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