Couple 'killed boy and hid body in attic for eight months'

Couple 'killed boy and hid body in attic for eight months'
Couple 'killed boy and hid body in attic for eight months'

A couple killed a 17-year-old boy and hid his body in their attic to get money and give their children a "good Christmas", a court has heard.

Stacy Docherty, 28, and Gary Hopkins, 37, allegedly murdered Abdi Ali with a claw hammer and 16cm long knife at their second floor flat in Enfield, north London, on December 21 2017.

They bundled his body in a duvet cover and hid it in their loft for the next eight months, the Old Bailey was told.

The bloodstained murder weapons were also stashed there in a bid to get away with it, jurors were told.

Police were alerted after the defendants let slip details about what had happened to friends who visited the flat, the court heard.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson QC said Docherty revealed a financial motive, saying she wanted to "give her children a good Christmas".

Opening the case, he said the defendants, who have three children, often took drugs at their flat at the time of Mr Ali's death.

He said: "Having killed him, they then wrapped up his body inside a duvet cover.

"They hid it in their attic along with the murder weapons - a claw hammer and a knife.

"They did this to try to get away with what they had done."

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The lawyer said Mr Ali's family had reported him missing and police had tried in vain to find him.

He said: "Meanwhile, as the months passed by, these defendants kept that body of Abdi Ali hidden away up in that attic.

"It began to decompose through the spring and summer.

"About eight months went by before it was finally discovered, by that stage having suffered serious decomposition and become infested with insects and the like.

"It was not until the end of August last summer that the family's worst fears were finally confirmed when the police had to deliver to them the terrible news about the discovery of the body."

Mr Patterson explained how Hopkins and Docherty told visitors to the flat about the body in the attic in August last year.

Hopkins became anxious when his dealer refused to give him more drugs, the court heard.

On the way to a cash machine, Hopkins talked about wanting to rob the dealer and kill him as he had done with Mr Ali, the jury was told.

When they got back, Hopkins allegedly told Docherty "I've told them about the attic" and she burst into tears.

She went into the bathroom and confided in one of the visitors that she knew about what happened before Christmas, Mr Patterson said.

He told jurors: "She revealed that the motive had been financial, stating that she had wanted to give her children a good Christmas."

When police searched the attic, they found Mr Ali's body wrapped in a black and red duvet cover with plastic bags over his head.

The 5ft 2in teenager was hit over the head with a hammer at least three times and stabbed repeatedly in a "savage attack", jurors heard.

Afterwards, the defendants fled London for Leominster in Herefordshire where they "lay low" for a few days, investigators allegedly found.

In his police interview, Hopkins blamed others for Mr Ali's death, saying he had agreed to let the boy he knew as Skeng deal drugs from his flat.

Docherty initially told police she was unaware of the body in the attic but later said Hopkins had killed Mr Ali for drugs.

She said Hopkins had told her to say someone called Gaile was the killer.

But Mr Patterson said: "The prosecution case is that nobody else had anything to do with the murder of Abdi Ali other than these defendants."

The defendants are jointly charged with murder, perverting the course of justice and preventing the lawful burial of a dead body.

Docherty has denied all the charges while Hopkins has denied murder but admitted the two other charges.