Frail 55-year-old man murdered by fake nephew who took over his life in three weeks

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
John Dowdell died after allowing Mohammed Assri into his home. (Metropolitan Police)
John Dowdell died after allowing Mohammed Assri into his home. (Metropolitan Police)

A “violent and manipulative” man has been jailed after taking over a frail 55-year-old’s life within weeks of moving into his home and later murdering him.

Homeless Mohammed Assri, 47, quickly established control over James Dowdell’s affairs and excluded his carers after moving in to his Kensington flat in later January 2020.

He took over the vulnerable man’s finances, using his Halifax debit card often and pawning a valuable watch strap that belonged to Dowdell.

Officers were sent to the flat on 17 February 2020 after Assri made a frantic call to 999. He told police he was called Adam and was Dowdell’s nephew.

He was found in possession of the victim’s personal items, including his bank card, and a large amount of blood-stained cash, the Metropolitan Police said.

Read more: Uber driver jailed for nine years after raping drunk student on her way home from night out

John Dowdell suffered more than 60 injuries, according to his mother. (Metropolitan Police)
John Dowdell suffered more than 60 injuries, according to his mother. (Metropolitan Police)

Assri claimed he had been at his sister’s house that afternoon and and found Dowdell upon returning to the flat, before performing CPR for 30 minutes then calling an ambulance at 6.45pm.

However, an investigation found Dodwell’s pacemaker had not registered a heartbeat for almost two hours before paramedics were called.

A post-mortem examination found bruising on the victim’s wrists and marks to his hand, which suggested he had tried to defend himself from an attack. His mother said he suffered more than 60 injuries.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma and compression of the neck, though Assri claimed Dowdell received his injuries after falling.

Assri was sentenced to 21 years in prison for murder at Isleworth Crown Court on 28 January after being convicted at a previous hearing.

Detective Inspector Maria Green said: “Assri is a violent and manipulative man who has taken no responsibility for his actions.

Read more: 'Pathetic' conspiracy theorist left 'Novichok' bottles outside castle

Mohammed Assri was given 21 years behind bars. (Metropolitan Police)
Mohammed Assri was given 21 years behind bars. (Metropolitan Police)

“He used his court appearance as an attempt to dishonour the memory and life of James and delay the trial, causing great upset to James’ family.”

Dowdell’s mother, who was not named by the Met, said in a victim impact statement: “As a family we arrived expecting a two week trial. In the event it ran to six weeks.

“One of the traumas of this was that it appeared that the timetable could be puppeteered by a lying manipulative murderer who seemed to thrive on all the attention. It felt that the defendant could simply produce a new story at will to keep everyone dangling.

“James' body riddled with more than 60 injuries shows how courageously he fought for his life. It highlights the levels of venom and savagery within this murderer that he could almost casually and for no possible motive brutally destroy James.

“The blood splatters on every wall and devastation in James' room are graphic testament to that.”

Watch the latest from Yahoo News UK