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Defendants accused of turning trial into death of Chatham pensioner Harjit Chaggar at Sani Globe into 'murder mystery'

By Paul Hooper

Three men - who deny brutally killing a Chatham pensioner - have been accused of deliberately turning their trial into a "murder mystery".

Only one of the accused has given evidence at the month-long hearing into the death of 69-year-old Harjit Chaggar last September.

Now prosecutor Bobbie Cheema QC has begun her final speech to the 11-strong jury at Canterbury Crown Court, who will decide if the three are guilty of the pensioner's "cold-blooded" murder.

Defendants Murshed Miah, Abdul Hannan and Rasad Miah

She told them how the victim had been "a friendly well-loved woman with a kind heart" who was planning to start a foundation with her own money to help the poor in India.

The court earlier heard evidence Mrs Chaggar was "sharp-minded and not the sort of person who could be easily deceived or tricked".

Ms Cheema added: "The senseless and brutal attack on her and her lonely death under the basement floor of a grocery shop was truly shocking.

"If the prosecution is right, then despite the denials of the four defendants, this serves as a terrible reminder that any one of us and any one of our loved ones may be vulnerable to fatal violence by simply going about our ordinary daily lives."

Grandmother Harjit Chaggar was found dead in a shop basement

Mrs Chaggar's bloodied and battered body was found in a hole in the basement of the store - just yards from where she was seen shopping.

The prosecution has claimed she had been assaulted and bled to death in the basement store room of the shop before being thrown through a hatch while still alive.

Mohammed Islam, 28, of Windmill Road, Abdul Hannan, 44, of Aldon Close, Maidstone; and Murshed Miah, 38, of Wheeler Street, Maidstone, have all denied murdering Mrs Chaggar at the Sani Globe grocery store in Luton Road, Chatham in September last year.

Rasad Miah, 27, of Otway Street, Chatham, has pleaded not guilty to preventing the lawful burial or cremation of a corpse.

Police outside the Luton shop where Harjit Chaggar's body was found

The prosecutor added: "If the prosecution is right to add to the sheer brutality of what these young men did is the cold-bloodied nature of the killing.

"Harjit Chaggar was left to bleed for some time before being stripped of her valuables, little though they were - even her shoes and glasses - before being moved, alive certainly but helpless, and then thrown through a hole onto the floor.

"And if the prosecution is right about what happened in that shop on September 2, then there has been a complete lack of remorse by the defendants, not even a hint of it during the trial.

"The defendants seem to be cold to the very thought of it - no man here (in the dock) feels sorry for what he has done and you may have been struck by how little regard has been paid by them about the death of that lady."

Ms Cheema claimed two of the three accused had lied to Mrs Chaggar's family about seeing her in the shop on the day she vanished.

Police outside Sani Globe Food shop in Luton Road, Chatham

The prosecutor said the three were "present during and after" the time Mrs Chaggar was killed.

"We say the evidence points inexorably at their guilt, but instead of meeting it with a cogent explanation, the defendants have used this trial to try and turn Harjit Chaggar's death into some kind of murder mystery."

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts later this week.

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