Bow Lock murder: Victim's two girlfriends give evidence at Old Bailey

Mohammed Aqil Mahdi, 22, who died on November 6

Mohammed Aqil Mahdi, 22, who was stabbed to death in Bow Lock - Credit: Met Police

The two girlfriends of a man stabbed to death in Bow Lock were both phoned on the day he died by one of those accused of the killing, jurors at the Old Bailey have heard.   

On the morning of November 6 last year, a dog walker found the body of Mohammed Aqil Mahdi - who was better known as Aqil - in a secluded enclosure behind Springer Court, Navigation Road.

The 22-year-old from Camden had been been "savagely attacked" and stabbed multiple times in his shoulder and buttocks, and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Navigation Road by the canal at Bromley-by-Bow

Navigation Road by the canal at Bromley-by-Bow - Credit: Google

Three of his associates - Majed Ahmed, 19, of Navigation Road in Bromley-by-Bow, Muzahid Ali, 22, of Bishops Way in Cambridge Heath and Abul Kashem, 29, of Victoria Dock Road in Newham - are on trial for his murder.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey last week, Aqil's two girlfriends were questioned about phone calls made to each of them by Muzahid Ali in the early hours of November 6 - the day Aqil was found dead.

Neither woman knew who he was when he called from a withheld number.

The first woman to give evidence, who had been dating Aqil since June 2021, was told by Ali - in the call that lasted for a minute-and-a-half - that Aqil was still in contact with his ex-girlfriend.

She said Aqil had told her that his relationship with the other woman had ended by the time they began dating.

But the second woman went on to tell jurors she had been in a relationship with Aqil "on and off" for seven years since she was 14, and that she had split up with him two weeks before he was killed.

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They had stopped dating when Aqil met the first woman, but got back together in August 2021 when he told her they had separated. 

The second woman had received a phone call on November 6 at 6am, which lasted for an hour and 23 minutes, during which she got the "distinct impression Ali was flirting with her as well as threatening her".

She claims he told her that she was "very pretty", and that he had photos of her and the other woman that he threatened to put out on social media.

Most of the call was reportedly spent talking about her relationship with Aqil and the situation with his other girlfriend. 

"What was he saying about the way he was treating you?," asked prosecutor Gareth Thomas Patterson.

She replied: "He didn't like the way I was cheated on in a sense. He said, 'I wouldn't treat you like that',".

"It was a bit scary I guess. He knew a lot about me. He knew where I lived, and the area, that I wanted to become an accountant, that I have three older brothers."

Ali's barrister, Michael Bromley-Martin, asked her about Ali's comment on the phone call that Aqil "had been beaten up".

"It was more so said like a passing comment, not something that was very drastic or something big that had happened," she said.

She also described how Ali had told her to "tell Aqil to watch his back", and that he had said: "Tomorrow watch what might happen."

"The way he was saying it, he was the one making the threat," she said.

"I'm going to suggest he never made a threat to you. He merely made the suggestion there was a threat," said Mr Bromley-Martin.

"From what I understood from it, he was the one making the threats, so we can agree to disagree," she said in response.

Charles Sherrard, the barrister for Abul Kashem, went on to ask her: "What do you say to this proposition that your brother instructed Majed [Ahmed] to harm Aqil?"

"I think that's absurd. My brother wouldn't do that," she replied.

She described how Aqil was no longer involved with drug dealing but had been in the past, and that he had moved to Egypt for six months in 2019 when he got into debt with drug dealers, where he "furthered his Islamic studies". 

Ahmed, Ali and Kashem all deny murder.

The trial continues.