Man sentenced to minimum of 24 years in prison for murder of Watford man


Josh Lewis, 21, of Merton Road, Watford has been found guilty of murdering Mujib Hakim, a 40-year-old man from Watford.

A jury returned the guilty verdict late yesterday, Wednesday, 25 January 2012 after a two week trial at St Albans Crown Court and Josh Lewis was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 24-years.  Lewis had previously pleaded guilty to obstructing the coroner by burying the body in his garden for which he was sentenced to 4-years imprisonment to be served concurrently.

The jury heard how Mujib Hakim disappeared on Friday, 27 May 2011.  His body was found by police officers on 17 August 2011 in the back garden of Josh Lewis' Merton Road home after a warrant to search the premises was executed.

A post mortem examination established the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds.

Kevin Keegan, 22, of Stroudgate, Harrow denied he had assisted Josh Lewis in the burial of Mujib in Lewis' garden, and was acquitted yesterday of obstructing a coroner.

Clare Tucker of the Complex Casework Unit at Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said: "We have worked closely with the police in this case to ensure that a strong case was placed before the jury.

"It is clear that the jury were sure that Lewis murdered Mujib and justice has now been served.  Lewis has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 24-years, and will now have a number of years ahead of him in which to reflect on his actions.

"Our thoughts are with Mr Hakim's family and friends who had to endure almost three months of fear and uncertainty as to Mujib's fate, due to the concealment of his body, and had to hear at the trial how he died in horrific circumstances.

"Others were wrongly accused of this crime and therefore became indirect victims of Josh Lewis.

"There seems to have been no motive for this murder, which appears to have been pre-meditated and carefully planned to avoid detection.

"The verdict and sentencing conclude this investigation and will hopefully bring some comfort to Mujib's family."

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Collin, from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who led the investigation, said: "My thoughts and sympathy are with the family and friends of Mujib Hakim at this time.  Although nothing can bring Mujib back, I hope his family find some comfort in knowing that the man responsible for his death is now behind bars.

"The sentence passed reflects the severity of the acts that Josh Lewis has committed.  Josh Lewis is a manipulative man.  There was clearly an element of planning involved with this murder.  Dust masks and plastic sheeting were bought on May 27th at Poundland in Watford shortly before Mujib met his fate.  These purchases were supported by receipts.  He is also a fantasist and a young man I would regard as extremely dangerous.

"Throughout this case Josh Lewis has denied the full part he played in robbing this young man of his life and he must now face the consequences."