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25 January 2012, 17:45
A fantasist who put together a kidnap kit and lured a vulnerable street entertainer to his home where he stabbed him 17 times was jailed for a minimum of 24 years.
Josh Lewis targeted Mujib Hakim (right) who was known as "The Michael Jackson dancer" because he danced to the singer's tracks and begged for money in Watford town centre, Herts.
After launching a brutal attack Lewis buried the 40-year-old university graduate in his back garden, where his remains lay undiscovered for nearly three months.
Lewis, 21, (left) of Merton Road, Watford, denied murder, but was convicted by the jury. On the judge's direction they found him not guilty of possessing a stun gun.. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing the coroner.
His friend Keegan, 22, of Stroud Gate, Harrow, denied obstructing the coroner and was cleared by the jury. He said he had not been involved in burying the body.
Prosecutor Ann Evans told St Albans crown court that Mr Hakim, who was known as Hak, disappeared on May 27 last year. He had mental health problems and was being monitored by the Community Health Team.
She said: "As far as anyone knew Josh Lewis had no obvious connection to Mr Hakim. He lived very close to one of his regular begging spots outside Lloyds Bank so no doubt was familiar with him. Through careful analysis the police have pieced together a disturbing picture of Josh Lewis preparing to kill a vulnerable individual."
She said he had bought items for the killing from Watford's Poundland store. These included rubble sacks, two extra large plastic drop cloths, dusk masks and jumbo multi paper roll.
A black laptop bag found in Lewis's home was described by Mrs Evans as "very sinister indeed" and a 'kidnap kit.' She went on: "What the police found inside was a black cloth knife roll containing seven knives of varying sizes, a Tazer, a black plastic box with scalpels, a black torch, a roll of heavy duty plastic sacks, an apron, cable ties, gaffer tape, two face masks, a large disposable syringe, disposable gloves and a large plastic sheet.
"What an earth did he want with all of those? Mujib Hakim had disappeared without trace. At the scene of his killing there was hardly any forensic trace. You may think this laptop bag was the perfect gift to carry out such an awful act."
At 16.46 on May 27 CCTV showed Josh Lewis and Mujib Hakim by the Church Street car park in Watford. Then, at 5 o'clock, more CCTV from Market Street showed Josh Lewis crossing the road to walk alongside Hak and then them turning around and walking back in the direction of Josh Lewis' house.
Two hours later, Josh Lewis arrived at Watford A & E complaining of a very deep cut to his left forearm. He claimed he had cut himself with a Stanley Knife while trying to fit a stair-gate, but the prosecution said he suffered it during the struggle which his victim who he stabbed 17 times, mainly in the back.
After the killing Lewis told his girlfriend Nola Montgomery that she should not go out of the back door of their home and should keep the windows shut because there was a problem with the sewers and they smelt.
He attended the hospital for more treatment to his arm, returning home on the 29 May. He went shopping to Wilkinsons, coming back he said with something to deal with the drain.
Neighbours Daniel Robinson and Jordan Glancy were disturbed during the night by a rustling aend digging noise. She jokingly suggested
it was a body being buried.
Police enquiries continued and, on the 17 August, officers obtained a warrant to search Lewis' home. On the third day of the search, 19 August, Mr Hakim's body was found buried in an area of loose ground at the rear of the garden. He had been covered in a curtain, with his feet bound.
Sentencing him to life with a minimum term 24 years less the 156 days Lewis had spent in custody, Judge Stephen Gullick said: "It was a frenzied and ferocious" murder. The" judge said "very considerable force" had been used with wounds through the shoulder blade, a number of ribs, the aorta, heart, lungs and liver.
He said the crime had been aggravated because Lewis had lured Mr Hakim back to his home with the promise of either cigarettes or drugs, the victim was vulnerable and he had concealed his body in his garden.
After the case Detective Chief Inspector Steve Collins said: "This was a complex case as Mujib disappeared without a trace. He had no known enemies and was described by his family and associates as a peaceful man who spent his time as a street entertainer in Watford - where he was well known for his Michael Jackson impressions."
He went on to say: "When we searched the home of Josh Lewis we discovered the body of Mujib Hakim had been buried in the back garden. We also found what I would describe as a kidnap kit which consisted of an adapted stun gun, plastic sheeting, dust masks, cables ties, a torch, syringes, gaffer tape, plastic aprons and disposable gloves, all items were being kept in a laptop bag. There clearly was an element of planning involved with the murder. He targeted Mr Hakim because he saw him as a vulnerable individual. Josh Lewis is a manipulative man. He is also a fantasist and a young man I would regard as extremely dangerous."