A man has been convicted of murder after killing 17-year-old Abdi Ali at his home address in Enfield and then hiding his body in the loft for eight months.
Gary Hopkins, 37 (09.10.81), of Hartmoor Mews, Enfield, was convicted at the Old Bailey today, 28 March, after being found guilty of murder, perverting the course of justice and preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.
Sentencing will be at the same court on 26 April.
His partner Stacey Docherty, 28, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter. The jury reached a hung verdict on charges of perverting the course of justice and preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.
The body was eventually identified as Abdi Ali, 18, of Ostell Crescent, Enfield, who had been reported missing to police by his family on 31 December 2017. He was last seen by them on 11 December 2017, at a family wedding.
The discovery of his body at Hopkins’ home address followed information provided to police by a friend.
This information led to officers searching their address and finding Abdi’s body which was wrapped in bedding and hidden in the loft.
The friend told police that on the evening of 25 August 2018, she had gone to visit the flat in Hartmoor Mews. Hopkins was angry with a male who was asleep at his address. He informed the friend that he intended to rob and kill the man. Hopkins claimed he had done it before and that the body was in his attic.
Hopkins placed a ladder against the wall and encouraged an associate who was also at the address to look into the loft encouraging him to touch what he was looking at.
The shocked friend would later be told that the body was an unknown Somali male who was about 18 years old and that he had been disrespectful whilst in the house. Abdi often stayed in the address because he was homeless and would sell drugs in return as a mutual arrangement.
On the day of the murder, just before Christmas on 21 December 2017, Abdi was asleep on the sofa. Hopkins hit Abdi with a hammer; the hammer broke but Abdi was not dead so Hopkins went into the kitchen and got a knife and stabbed him in the heart.
Abdi was then robbed of cash and drugs before his body was cleaned up, wrapped in a bed sheet and black bags, and put into the loft.
After hearing this information, the friend attended a Hertfordshire police station on 27 August 2018.
Hopkins and Docherty were arrested at their address on the afternoon of 27 August after officers acted on the information and found Abdi’s body.
Hopkins account was that two men, known associates who dealt drugs had been looking for Abdi on the day he was murdered, they killed him and out of fear he and Docherty had left with their children, returning home a week later.
Hopkins continued to stick to his story and attempted to leave the interview room, becoming abusive towards the interviewing officers.
Hopkins and Docherty were charged on 29 August 2018.
A post-mortem examination which took place on Friday, 31 August at Haringey Mortuary, gave Abdi’s cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds to the chest.
In a victim impact statement, Abdi’s mother, Iisha Abdullahi said: “Abdi was a very respectful, helpful son and he was particularly very close to his grandmother and he used to help her all the time. His grandmother took his death very badly and died herself soon after.
“On the 11 December 2017 Abdi attended my daughter’s wedding and he returned home around 01:00am and then around 10:00-11:00 of the 11th December 2017 Abdi went out and said he will be back. It was normal for Abdi to go out and then come back home.
“The days leading to the 16 December 2017 Abdi used to come home late every night, however, the night of the 15th of December he did not come home but he came in the morning around 08:00am and left soon after having asked me to lend him some money. Abdi always used to let me know if he is not coming or if he is going to be late at night.
“After the 16th of December 2017 we did not see or hear from Abdi which was out of character for Abdi and that is why we reported him as missing to the police on the 31st of December 2017. We were very concerned when he went missing.
“It was on the 27th of August 2018 when we were informed by the police that Abdi’s body was found in a loft in a house. It causes me a lot of pain to be the last person to see Abdi before he went missing.
“I am aware that Abdi had trouble with police before but as a family we were hoping that he would change since he was still very young however, he does not have that opportunity now. As a mother to lose one of your children is the hardest thing ever and very painful. It is also very painful when you are told that your son’s body was found very close to your home address and you could not help him when he was being murdered, in the way he was, and when at the same time you used to look for him in that same area.
“I cried every day when he was missing, people would say to me that Abdi was maybe dead because he had been missing for so long, but I would not believe this. When I was informed about Abdi’s death, I fainted because where his body was found was the same area that I used to pass every day for the eight months that Abdi was missing and it is very close to my home address. As a family we miss Abdi very much and I cannot understand why they did what they did to Abdi.
“They had no reason to hide his body for that long in a loft and not even allow us to bury him respectfully, which is a very important part of our faith. I have not been attending court as I could not bear to listen to what happened to Abdi but I have asked my daughter Kowsar to attend, and she told me that the people who were responsible for my son’s death did not even admit what they did to my son and have not explained why they killed him, this is very painful as there is no closure for me yet.
“I and my family fled from Somalia and we came to this country for safety but what these two people did to me and to my family and to Abdi is not something that we can ever forget. They broke my heart and this is not something that I can ever forget or forgive them for. My son was only 17 years old and they did not give him the chance to lead his life. Abdi never harmed anyone and I cannot understand why someone would do such thing to another human being. I will always love Abdi and I will never forget him.
“I can’t believe I will never see my son again.”
DCI Paul Considine, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “I am pleased to have received this verdict today in what has been a tragic case to investigate. Not only was a young man brutally murdered, but his body being hidden put Abdi’s family through the anguish of not knowing where he was. Great efforts were taken to conceal the body and make sure it could not be found.
“This has been devastating for Abdi’s family who were not aware of a lot of aspects of his life. Hopkins showed a callous disregard for the consequences of his actions, which were driven by money and drugs.
“If the friend had not done the right thing and informed police, Abdi’s family would have had to endure even longer than they did without knowing where he was or what had happened to him.”