Woman who was ‘duped by fraudster weeks before he strangled millionaire to death and dumped her body in a bin’ tells murder trial she made ‘terrible mistake’ by not reporting him to the police
- Kusai Al-Jundi, 28, and Mohammed El-Abboud, 24, accused of woman’s murder
- Anna Reich made ‘mistake’ not reporting Al-Jundi after alleged £57k car scam
- She told the Old Bailey today he never paid for her Audi TT and a Toyota Rav 4
- Al-Jundi and El-Abboud then ‘murdered’ millionaire Louise Kam, 71, jurors heard
Delivery man Mohammed El-Abboud (pictured), 24, and Kusai Al-Jundi allegedly murdered millionaire Louise Kam, 71, after promising to buy her properties for six million pounds, jurors have heard
A woman who was duped by an alleged fraudster before he allegedly went on to murder an elderly millionaire said she made ‘a terrible mistake’ by not reporting him to the police, a court heard today.
Chef Kusai Al-Jundi, 28, promised to pay Anna Reich £57,000 for her Audi TT and a Toyota Rav 4 as he declared his undying love for the older Ms Reich, the Old Bailey was told.
She handed over both cars but never got a penny and weeks later Al-Jundi and his delivery man Mohammed El-Abboud, 24, allegedly strangled millionaire Louise Kam, 71, to death after promising to buy her properties for six million pounds, jurors have heard.
Mrs Kam’s body was dumped in a bin and covered with garden waste as messages were sent from the victim’s phone to her family and friends claiming she was leaving the country for China.
The bin was found outside Al-Jundi’s home in Wood End Road, Harrow, northwest London, on 29 July last year, the court was told.
The body of Louise Kam (pictured) was dumped in a bin and covered with garden waste as messages were sent from the victim’s phone to her family and friends claiming she was leaving the country for China
Ms Reich met Al-Jundi when he was working as a chef at the Yasmeen Shamin restaurant in Willesden.
She told the jury after she handed over the cars in May and June last and Al-Jundi tried to draw her into the property fraud against Mrs Kam.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow asked: ‘Did he ever pay you a penny for either of those vehicles?’
Ms Reich said: ‘He never paid me a penny, not even a penny…no cash or transfer, nothing. He was very creative.’
Ms Reich admitted feeling ‘enormously frustrated’ with his excuses for not paying for the cars.
She said: ‘In my good faith and naivete, and somewhat fragile mental health state, I refused to believe that someone would want to defraud me – someone who seemed to be working quite hard in the restaurant where he worked.
‘Naively I kept believing his excuses.
‘I can honestly say I never received a penny from Quasi Al-Jundi – never.
‘Something always happened, at first it’s something plausible, then it’s less and less plausible.
‘I was evidently in denial and refused to believe that I was being taken for a ride. It took me a long time to accept that.’
Asked why she did not call the police to report the fraud, she said it was because Al-Jundi was ‘someone from the street’.
‘Because I knew where he worked, I just refused to believe that was the case and I didn’t do it. It was a terrible mistake, it was terrible error in my judgment.’
Al-Jundi promised to pay Anna Reich £57,000 for her Audi TT (pictured) and a Toyota Rav 4 as he declared his undying love for the older Ms Reich, the Old Bailey was told. Ms Reich said she made ‘a terrible mistake’ by not reporting him to the police before he allegedly went on to kill elderly millionaire Louise Kam
Ms Reich had met Mrs Kam four or five times at Al-Jundi’s restaurant when she mentioned she had a house in Barnet, the court heard.
Al-Jundi discussed discussed purchasing the property with the help of Ms Reich, it was said.
Ms Kam owned a three bedroomed semi-detached house in Gallants Farm Road, East Barnet, that she visited for the last time on 26 July 2021.
She also owned outright a shop on High Road, Willesden with three flats above.
‘Did Al-Jundi explain why he was discussing property purchases with you?’ said Mr Glasgow.
Ms Reich said: ‘From my point of view it was friendly banter, friendly discussion. Sometimes he wanted some help with English. I said I really don’t want to get involved.
‘I was happy to exchange cooking recipes with him but not exchanging properties.
‘He was bombarding me with messages, calls and voicemails asking me to go look at the houses. I told him I will look at the houses but he needs to finish his transactions with me.
‘I have never looked at any of these houses with him, I didn’t have any reason to not be helpful – besides the fact that he hadn’t paid me.’
Al-Jundi told Ms Reich that she could trust him, despite making several excuses as to why he could not yet pay her for her cars.
Ms Reich said: ‘I didn’t believe him or trust him anymore. Something that was a simple transaction, selling a car, is not rocket science. It should be simple.’
On a couple of occasions Al-Jundi sent images to Ms Reich of money and selfies of him next to ‘some kind of bag’.
‘I thought that doesn’t sound right, doesn’t look right, doesn’t feel right (…) I had become uncomfortable around him and the whole situation.’
Jurors heard that in an attempt to manipulate Ms Reich, Al-Jundi sent her messages that read: ‘I love you, I want you. Anna, no one else is inside my heart. I love you because I want you, yes I need you, every time I need you.’
Ms Reich told the court that she ‘couldn’t care less’ about his advances and said there was no romantic relationship ever between them.
‘He has been psychologically manipulating me all this time. My intention was to get the money for the car and get out of that situation as quickly as possible.
‘I told him this is not a wild, wild west, this is England, Kusai.’
Ms Reich laughed at defence barrister Martin Rutherford when he suggested she was trying to launder millions of pounds with the accused killer through property purchases.
‘I was selling a car to Kusai. That was my huge mistake which nearly destroyed my life,’ she said.
The Old Bailey (pictured) heard that in an attempt to manipulate Ms Reich, Al-Jundi sent her messages that read: ‘I love you, I want you. Anna, no one else is inside my heart. I love you because I want you, yes I need you, every time I need you’
Prosecutors claim Al-Jundi was trying to trick Ms Reich to attend meeting with him and the murder victim.
He had told Mrs Kam that Ms Reich was backing him for millions of pounds – and told Ms Reich than he need to attend meetings with the victim because he did not speak English well and needed help with documents.
Mr Rutherford, defending Al-Jundi, said: ‘You had indicated to Kusai Al-Jundi that you had millions of pounds that you were prepared to launder through property.’
Ms Reich laughed and said: ‘We are evidently dealing with a Walter Mitty – I’m referring to Kusai now.’
She said she had agreed to and look at property with him but explained to him she had no expert knowledge in real estate.
But none of the views ever materialised.
‘He was very disorganised. I was trying to do him a favour in good faith,’ she said.
Ms Reich said her aim was simply to recover her money.
‘I had nothing to with any purchase of any property, any real estate. He was dreaming, or attempting to.
‘I categorically had nothing to do with any property. You know Kusai made these things up. I had no idea what he was trying to pull me into.’
She said Al-Jundi told him his father had a construction firm employing hundreds of people.
He had asked her if he could use her back account but she ‘categorically refused.’
She said Al-Jundi’s claims were ‘incorrect, fabricated and laughable’ and accused Mr Rutherford of trying to intimidate her.
‘I’m here to help to bring justice for Louise Kam, nothing else,’ Ms Reich said.
‘I do resent being intimidated by you and I will not have that.’
El-Abboud, whose last address was Gallants Farm Road, Barnet, and Kusai Al-Jundi, of Wood End Road, Harrow, both deny Ms Kam’s murder.
The trial continues.