A man has been jailed for murdering a woman who was found buried in Neasden.
Neculai Paizan, 64 (11.11.57) of Peel Street, W8 was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday, 25 July to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 22 years, for the murder of Agnes Akom.
He was found guilty at the same court on Tuesday, 19 July.
During the sentencing, HHJ Marks praised the ‘outstanding police team,’ adding: “This is police work of the highest order and we are proud and have a debt of gratitude to the team.”
Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, said: “Our thoughts remain with Agnes’ family and friends, who not only have suffered from her loss, but have had to endure hearing the details of her murder during this trial.
“The level of violence Paizan used in his attack on Agnes was truly horrific. What she suffered inside the container does not bear thinking about. Whilst it is not clear why he killed her that day, his attempts to hide his crime in the following hours and days show a calculated effort to ensure that, not only was Agnes never found, but that he would not be caught.
“Our enquiries, which started with phone data, quickly led us to identify Paizan as someone who had regular contact with Agnes. It was his actions that made him a suspect, and the resulting investigation led to him being charged.
“During his testimony at the Old Bailey, Paizan concocted a number of stories in an attempt to paint Agnes in a bad light. Our investigation, and what we know about Agnes, tell us that whilst she was vulnerable, he has clearly lied about her background and personal situation in an attempt to sway the jury.
“It is likely that he preyed upon these vulnerabilities to abuse her, ultimately leading to her murder.”
On 11 May 2021, 20-year-old Agnes, who was also known as ‘Dora’, was reported missing to police. She had left her home in the Cricklewood Broadway area two days earlier and had not been heard from.
Officers launched a missing person investigation and issued a number of appeals for information to find her but she failed to make contact, and no one reported having seen her.
Due to growing concerns for Agnes’ welfare, the investigation was passed to detectives from the Specialist Crime Command who have expertise in cases of this nature.
Officers were able to establish that Agnes had got into a motor vehicle on Cricklewood Broadway on 9 May 2021, which was quickly established as belonging to the defendant. This vehicle was then tracked by police to a makeshift home inside a large shipping container, which was situated at on North Acton Road in Brent.
An extensive review of her phone records, and call data, also established that Agnes’ phone had regularly been in the vicinity of a phone belonging to Paizan over a 12-month period.
On 18 May 2021, officers visited the shipping container to speak with Paizan. Upon arrival, several heavy duty padlocks had been used to secure a door at the end of the container. The London Fire Brigade were requested to attend the container and quickly gained entry. No one was found inside. However, whilst in attendance the defendant arrived on scene believing that his container was on fire. He admitted knowing Agnes and initially said that he had met with her about two weeks earlier.
He was taken to Wembley Police Station in order to give a witness statement, whilst other officers viewed CCTV footage of the industrial estate to corroborate his account. In interview, Paizan said that he had actually taken Agnes to his container on 9 May 2021, where after a short stay within, he had dropped her to a nearby cashpoint machine, after which time he had not seen or heard from her.
Whilst the CCTV footage confirmed that Paizan and Agnes had entered the container on 9 May 2021, it ominously did not show her leaving at any time after that day.
As a result of inconsistencies in his statement, when compared with the visual evidence, Paizan was arrested on suspicion of murder and false imprisonment.
Detectives continued to review the CCTV footage and gradually pieced together Paizan’s movements in the days after Agnes had gone missing. He was seen to carry a number of items from the container to his car before visiting a skip and Neasden Recreation Ground.
Inside the skip, officers found Agnes’ coat. At the same, a full forensic examination of the container found blood which matched Agnes’ DNA. Other bloodstains were subsequently discovered in Paizan’s car.
All of the facts led officers to conclude that Agnes had come to serious harm. Paizan continued to deny any involvement despite the evidence contradicting his statements. On 23 May 2021, he was charged with murder.
However, detectives were yet to find Agnes’ body. Every piece of information suggested that Paizan had taken her to the area surrounding the recreation ground.
Officers with specialist dogs continued with their search, and on 14 June 2021 – some 36 days after she had last been seen – two police dogs gave an indication at a fallen tree. Hidden below a pile of logs and branches, officers found human remains that were later identified as Agnes.
The post-mortem examination established that Agnes had suffered blunt force trauma to the head, having been struck at least 20 times.
DCI John added: “The work of my team in reviewing hours of CCTV footage, as well as that of our forensic colleagues in examining the crime scene – which Paizan had tried to clean – was vital in establishing what happened to Agnes. This evidence was so strong that we were able to charge him with murder prior to us finding Agnes.”