A man who killed a frail 55-year-old man has been convicted of murder

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A man who killed a frail 55-year-old man has been convicted of murder.

Mohammed Assri, 47, of no fixed abode was found guilty of the murder of James Dowdell in West Brompton following a trial at Isleworth Court on Monday, 7 September

He will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, 20 November.

The court heard that on Monday, 17 February, Assri made a frantic call to police reporting that he had returned to an address in St Mark’s Grove, SW10 to find James dead.

Officers and paramedics attended to find James with head injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Assri was arrested and was found in possession of James’s personal items including his bank card and a large sum of blood stained cash.

Detectives began an investigation and found the relationship between Assri and James to be unclear. Assri claimed that his name was Adam and that James was his uncle. Assri had been homeless prior to moving into James’s flat in late January.

Having moved into the flat, Assri quickly established control, seeking to exclude James’s carers. He took over his finances, including using his Halifax debit card regularly, and pawned a valuable watch-strap belonging to James.

Officers found that in an attempt to displace himself from the crime scene Assri lied about his whereabouts in the hours before James’s death. He claimed that he had been at his sister’s house at 16.45hrs that day and later returned to James’ residence, performing CPR for 30 mins before calling the ambulance at 18.45hrs. Officers found that CCTV cameras showed he had been in the vicinity of his sister’s house 12 hours before he claimed and James’s pacemaker registered a failing heart nearly two hours before an ambulance was called.

A post-mortem examination revealed bruising on James’s wrists and marks to his hand suggesting that he had tried to defend himself from the fatal attack, and gave cause of death as blunt force trauma and compression of the neck.

The court heard Assri insist that James’s injuries were sustained by falling and were self-inflicted. This was disproved by pathologists and medical evidence.

Detective Inspector Maria Green from Specialist Crime said:

“I would like to thank the witnesses who spoke in court for their courage in giving evidence.

“Assri is a violent and manipulative man who has taken no responsibility for his actions, using his appearance at court as an attempt to dishonour the memory and life of James. I hope that James’s family and friends can draw some strength from seeing justice done.”

+ If you are a victim of domestic abuse or are worried about someone else please have the confidence to approach police or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. It doesn’t matter what your lifestyle is, we will help.

If you need urgent help and cannot talk, dial 999 and press 55 to let the operator know the call has not been made in error.