Evil allotment killer gets life for murder of ‘pillar of Colindale community’ Lea Adri-Soejoko
PUBLISHED: 17:11 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 30 November 2018
The evil allotment holder” who strangled 80-year-old widowed grandmum Lea Adri-Soejoko with a lawnmower flex has been jailed for at least 19 years.
Rahim Mohammadi, a 42-year-old from Bethnal Green, killed Lea because he feared he would be thrown off his plot at Colindale Allotments in north London after brutally attacking her.
Lea, who ran the allotments, was found dead in a padlocked shed after police followed the sound of her mobile phone ringing when her family raised the alarm that she was missing.
Mohammadi was sentenced at the Old Bailey this-afternoon after being found guilty yesterday by a jury of murder following a retrial.
Judge Richard Marks who gave Mohammadi a life sentence with a minimum 19 years told him: “Lea was confronted and attacked by you as she was vulnerable in the extreme.
“How bitterly ironic that the place she loved so much, the allotment, was the place she met her death.”
Mohammadi, a regular opium user, killed Lea in a “violent loss of temper”.
Lea was the Colindale allotment association’s secretary who Mohammadi strangled on February 27, 2017, and dumped her body in a shed which he padlocked, hoping to get away with it.
But it was Lea’s mobile phone ringtone that led a search party to the shed where she was found with her face covered with a coat and a lawnmower starter flex around her neck.
Cause of death was ligature compression of the neck, a post mortem later found. She also had rib and spinal bone fractures as well as cuts and bruises—and had been beaten before being strangled to death.
Mohammadi was questioned by detectives along with the other allotment holders, but his alibi fell apart.
The Iranian asylum seeker had made regular trips to Colindale from his east London home in Goldsmiths Row, off Hackney Road. He admitted going to Lea’s house on the day to pick up allotment keys to the main gate.
Lea’s family later described her death as “the actions of one wicked individual”.
Her grown-up children described “the torture” of having to sit through the original trial and the retrial.
Tess Adri-Soejoko said after today’s sentencing: “I’m just glad that the truth has been revealed about Mohammadi and who he truly is. He will not be able to do this to anybody else.
“What happened to mum can never be undone, but at least we have a way to move forward.”
It was “difficult” for the family having to listen through days of gruelling evidence.
Lea’s son Mark said: “Nobody should ever hear those kinds of things about a loved one. Right now it’s a huge sense of relief, a huge weight off our shoulders.”
Scotland Yard’s Det Chief Insp Noel McHugh, who brought Mohammadi to justice, described him as a “manipulative, evil, controlling individual” who brutally attacked a frail old lady who was “a pillar of the community”.
He added: “There must have been an argument which led Mohammadi to attacking Lea. But he went a step further and murdered her in the hope he would never been found out.”
Detectives believe the attack was a spontaneous outburst which led him to strangle Lea after the attack to stop her speaking out with the inevitable loss of his allotment plot.