LONDON (AP) — A 19-year-old British man obsessed with demons was sentenced Thursday to serve at least 35 years in prison for murdering two sisters, in the belief that the killings would help him win a lottery jackpot.
Judge Philippa Whipple sentenced Danyal Hussein in the stabbing deaths of Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who had gathered for a birthday celebration at Fryent Country Park in June 2020.
Prosecutors said Hussein, who did not know the victims, had pledged to kill six women every six months in order to win the Mega Millions Super Jackpot lottery. They said the suspect was obsessed with demons and spells, and had signed a pact in his blood with a mythical figure he called King Lucifuge Rofocale.
“I am sure you performed these murders as part of that bargain for wealth and power,” Whipple said in delivering the sentence. “You committed these vicious attacks. You did it to kill. You did it for money and a misguided pursuit of power.”
Hussein, who was appearing virtually because of ongoing COVID restrictions, turned his chair so as to not face the court as he was sentenced.
Hussein denied the crimes, though his DNA was found on a knife dropped in the grass. His attorney Riel Karmy-Jones did not ask for a delay in the sentencing hearing, despite a psychiatric report inviting further assessment
“We hope in time and after some treatment the family will get some answers as to how and why these offences came to happen,” she said “He has got a loving family who are devastated by what has happened.”
The victims’ mother, Mina Smallman, a retired Church of England archdeacon, has criticized the response of the police when her daughters were reported missing on the evening of June 6, 2020. She has said officers showed a lack of urgency after looking at one daughter’s address and seeing her as “a Black woman who lives on a council (public housing) estate.”
With little urgency from the police, the family launched their own search. Nicole Smallman’s boyfriend found the bodies 36 hours after the killings. Family members found the weapon used in the slayings nearby.
Britain’s police watchdog investigated the way officers handled the missing-persons report. Two police officers have also been charged with misconduct in public office for allegedly sharing pictures of the crime scene on WhatsApp.
In light of the critical report, the grieving mother said that she didn’t want to cast a “whole organization’’ in a poor light because of one incident. However, she said there was an “underground that has infiltrated and is growing in our Metropolitan Police.''
She praised the investigators who tracked down Hussein, and the media who chose to cover the case, saying “everybody is worth knowing about.''
“There will be no celebrations here,’’ she said. “but justice has been done.”