A 27-year-old Indian-origin man has been convicted for killing a former friend and dumping his partially-burnt body rolled in a carpet in a shallow grave in west London in 2019, police said.
After a four-year-long investigation, Amraj Poonia from Horley was found guilty of murdering Mohammed Shah Subhani, 27, following a trial at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
Poonia’s accomplices in the murder, his brother Raneel Poonia, Mohanad Riad and Mahamud Ismail were found found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
All four of them will be sentenced at the same court at a later date, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“We have achieved justice for Shah (Subhani), his family and his partner by securing these convictions against the man responsible for his cowardly murder and those who helped to dispose of his body,” Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall said.
“Amraj Poonia is a dangerous individual and I have no doubt that the streets of west London are far safer now he, and his accomplices, have been convicted,” Tunstall said.
The court head how the murder was carried out behind the doors of a family plumbing business on an industrial estate in Hounslow on May 7, 2019. Subhani had been asked to look after 5kg of cannabis on behalf of a local drug dealer, out of which he gave a kilo of drugs Poonia to look after.
But Poonia stole the drugs with a value of 5,000 pounds, which left Subhani in debt, leading to animosity between the two. On May 7, 2019, Poonia and Subhani agreed to meet at the former’s family plumbing business, following which he drove to the Derby Road industrial estate in Hounslow and entered the family plumbing premises, parking his car outside.
Shortly after entering the premises, Subhani was murdered. Next day, Poonia, along with his brother Raneel positioned Subhani’s body into the rear of a vehicle. Despite murdering and removing his body from the premises, Poonia went to Subhani’s home address that same evening and pretended to share his family’s concerns, police said.
Subhani’s body was kept in the boot of a car in an unknown location within Hounslow whilst Poonia and his associates planned on where and how to dispose of it.
In the early hours of May 11, 2019, Raneel and accomplice Mahamud Ismail, along with another person, drove out in a two car convoy to a small village in Buckinghamshire, where in the middle of the night, they set fire to Subhani’s body and then buried it in a shallow grave.
A fight between Poonia and one of Subhani’s brothers led to the murderer’s arrest on May 13, following which officers conducted an extensive forensic search of the plumbing business and small samples of Subhani’s blood were located.
Despite the review by Homicide detectives of extensive CCTV footage, phone data analysis and enquiries, the body of Subhani could not be located.
A breakthrough in the investigation occurred six months later when an unnamed person present at the burial site, and not involved in the murder, walked into a police station and provided information about the location of the body and assisted police to locate it.
Throughout the investigation, a total of six defendants were charged for their part in the murder and subsequent cover up. During the trial, Poonia said he had killed Subhani in self-defence, a claim which was dismissed by the jury.