A teenager has been convicted of murdering two sisters in a Wembley park after signing a pact with the devil in his own blood.
Danyal Hussein, 19, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who he stabbed to death in a north London park last year.
Hussein, who was also convicted of possessing a knife, was convicted after around eight hours of deliberations.
He stood facing the jury and crossed his arms as the verdicts were delivered in front of the victims’ parents.
The teenager stabbed the sisters to death in a Wembley park because he believed he would win the lottery if he sacrificed women, the Old Bailey heard.
Miss Henry and Miss Smallman were killed at Fryent Country Park in north west London where they gathered with friends for a Covid-safe birthday celebration on June 6 last year.
The same friends found the sisters’ bodies in a hedgerow at the park.
Both women were “butchered by this defendant and would have their bodies concealed in undergrowth close to where they had been celebrating”, the jury heard.
A handwritten note was found in Hussein’s bedroom purporting to be an agreement between him and a demon, in which he promised to sacrifice women in order to win the lottery and not to be suspected of the crimes he had committed, the prosecution said.
The satanic drawings in Danyal Hussein's bedroom
The handwritten deal with the devil
It set out a “deal with the devil”, that the defendant would “sacrifice” a minimum of six women every six months “as long as I am physically capable”, the prosecution say.
In return, the Crown said the devil would grant him a lottery win, wealth and power, and he would never be suspected of any crimes by police, including the killings.
The note was signed "Danyal" in the defendant’s blood, the court head.
Bibaa Henry’s father Herman Henry described the "agony" of his loss.
On his daughter, he said: "She was a beautiful outgoing strong minded and intelligent woman."
He said nothing would ever bring back his daughter and her half sister Nicole, adding that Bibaa’s birthday would be a "constant reminder" of what happened.
Killer had been reported over fears he could be radicalised
It can now be reported that he had come to the attention of police aged just 15 over fears he was vulnerable to radicalisation and violent extremism.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding revealed that Hussein had been on a de-radicalisation programme between October 2017 and May 2018 after being referred to the Prevent scheme by his school.
Following his arrest, police found Hussein had communication with others about demons and love potions, and carried out online research about the far-right and Norse mythology.
But the depths of his cult-like ideology remain unknown because Hussein refused to hand over his passwords for his iPad.
Mr Harding described Hussein as "arrogant" and "evil" saying he acted like a "belligerent child" in court.
The senior officer said: "He’s shown complete disrespect to the court system, turning his back on the judge, trying to stare out the family, and laugh, and sticking up loser signs.
"He has behaved like a teenage boy but he has committed some of the most savage crimes we have seen for many years in one of the biggest police investigations we have had for a very, very long time.
"I firmly believe he would have carried out his contract. He would have carried on killing women, until he had killed the first six. If he had not won the lottery by that stage – every six months is what he said.
"He is where he should be and will be for a very long time. Even though he is only 18 he is a very, very dangerous individual."
Police said they could not rule out a racist element to the selection of Hussein’s victims, even though he just referred to women in his demonic pact.
Police ‘frustration’ over struggle to unlock killer’s online world
The senior police officer in charge of the Wembley park double murder investigation has spoken of his "frustration" at unlocking the killer’s online world.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, who is retiring after 30 years, said Danyal Hussein refused to hand over passwords for his iPad and his mobile phone was never found.
He said officers were unable to access data stored on the iCloud and the defendant’s parents did not engage with the inquiry.
From what officers were able to recover, there was evidence Hussein was talking to others about demons and spells, as well as researching extreme far right material, he said.
But other potentially revealing information about his activities on the dark web remains unknown.
The Metropolitan Police officer said: "He was in communication with others and they talk about different demons and different spells.
"We believe there was a lot more he was accessing on the dark web.
"We have had discussions with counter terrorism officers to get more of an understanding around thoughts and ideology."
But he said the murders were not regarded as terror-related and there was no evidence anyone else was involved.
"We have not seen any evidence of any encouragement but we have not been able to get into his deepest darkest thoughts hidden in his computer somewhere."
Mr Harding added: "In my experience of murder investigations, we always seem to come to the same problem getting into certain devices and asking to get into them.
"I personally find it strange they do not help in certain situations to understand if there are other people with a similar mindset he is talking to.
"I think it’s incredibly frustrating when you are trying to run a murder inquiry with one hand tied behind your back."
The Met Police confirmed it was able to access only 20% of data held on Hussein’s iPad.
A request was made via the Crown Prosecution Service to access further data on the Apple device in an attempt to fully understand who Hussein was, and who he may have been talking to.
It was turned down by the US legal system on the basis that there was no "probable cause" – that nothing suspected to be on the iPad was directly linking Hussein to the murders, police said.
Hussein’s handwritten notes suggested that he was looking at sites on the dark web, Scotland Yard said.
An Apple spokesman said the company was unaware of a request.
UK law enforcement requests for information held in the US are made through the legal framework of the multilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
What happened on that night?
The jury heard how Miss Henry, whose birthday the group were celebrating, was stabbed eight times before her sister Miss Smallman was stabbed 29 times.
The sisters in the park for their celebration
Hussein, seen below in a court sketch from the Old Bailey, bought the kitchen knives from an Asda supermarket and went to the park with latex gloves, at least one of the knives, a mask and small shovels in a backpack.
Court artist sketch of Danyal Hussein (centre) appearing in the dock at the Old Bailey, London
Credit: Elizabeth Cook/PA
Addressing the jury in the Crown Prosecution Service’s opening statement, Oliver Glasgow QC said: “It would appear that the defendant had confidence that his plan would work since following the fatal attacks upon Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, the defendant purchased several lottery tickets and there were three lottery tickets folded up inside his agreement with the devil.
“As it turned out, the demon did not come good on the bargain, since not only did the defendant not win the lottery but the police identified all the evidence that links him to these two murders.”
Hussein set up an online lottery account the day before the killings using a photograph of his passport, the court heard.
On June 7, the jury heard he spent £17.50 on ten Mega Millions bets and two Mega Millions syndicate bets – none of which came in.
Hussein was accused of “lying in wait” for potential victims because “the defendant wanted to kill women and he planned to carry out his senseless violence in the days leading up to these murders, which is why he wrote about what he wanted to do and why he purchased knives that would enable him to kill with ease”, the Crown said.
Hussein placing the knives into his backpack
The killer may have been attracted to the sisters because they were dancing around fairy lights they had brought to the park with them, the jury heard.
A picture recovered from the sisters' mobile phone of them dancing to fairy lights before they were killed
During the course of his attack, Hussein suffered a knife wound himself as his hand slipped due to being wet with blood.
This injury to his hand left his DNA on the knife which was recovered from the scene, the Crown say.
The jury also heard how he dragged the bodies into nearby undergrowth and that his blood was found on the victims and on leaves and trees.
The prosecution said CCTV shows the defendant arriving home in the early hours of June 6 without trousers, which the Crown claims he disposed of along with the mobile phones of his victims.
Hussein arriving at his father's home without his trousers
Mr Glasgow QC told the Old Bailey Hussein attempted to access Miss Henry’s phone more than 130 times between 1.26am and 3.48am, at which point it was dumped in a pond in the park along with Miss Smallman’s handset.
During the time he had the phone, the device’s data reveals that he walked 2km as he attempted to clean up the scene by putting bloodied blankets in bins, the court heard.
Refuse bag filled with bloodied blankets
Later that day, friends became worried about the sisters, and went to the park in search for clues as to their whereabouts.
They initially found both their glasses and phoned the police.
A few moments later, the knife was found.
Whilst on the phone to 999, Adam Stone – who had been at the birthday celebration the night before – found his friends.
Mr Glasgow QC told the court: “The scene that greeted him was so shocking that, at first, all Adam Stone could do was scream.
“The bodies of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman lay on their sides. They were top-to-toe and their limbs were intertwined – both of them had been repeatedly stabbed and they were clearly dead.
“He could see some of the stab wounds to Nicole Smallman’s body and her lifeless eyes were wide open.”
Meanwhile, Hussein had gone to Northwick Park hospital to seek treatment for cuts to his right hand, the court heard.
He told the doctors that he had been mugged at 10pm the night before and was referred to a plastic surgeon.
His wound was stitched and he told the surgeon that he had been mugged two or three days before and that he did not want to report the matter to the police, the Crown said.
Hussein, of Guy Barnett Grove, Blackheath, south-east London, has denied double murder and possessing a knife.
Families of both the defendant and the victims, including the sisters’ mother, were in court.
Mina Smallman, mother of the two victims looking on as Danyal Hussein appears in the dock at the Old Bailey
Credit: Elizabeth Cook/PA
He had denied any involvement in the crimes, and the CPS said it is likely “he will claim the reason his DNA and blood was found all over the crime scene, the murder weapon and the dead bodies is because he has been the victim of a conspiracy”.
Mrs Justice Whipple ordered reports and adjourned sentencing of Hussein to September 22 at the Old Bailey.
She thanked the jury for carefully considering the case, saying the matters heard in court were of the "utmost gravity".
The judge acknowledged they may have been upset by some of the evidence and said a counsellor would be available to speak to them if they wanted.