Harjit Chaggar 'left to die' in Chatham shop basement

image captionHarjit Chaggar was last seen in Chatham on 2 September last year

A grandmother was left to bleed to death after being thrown down a hatch into a basement, a court has heard.

The decomposing body of Harjit Chaggar, 69, was found at the Sani Globe store in Chatham, Kent, last September, 12 days after she disappeared.

Bobbie Cheema QC, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court Mrs Chaggar was still alive when thrown down the hatch.

Abdul Hannan, 44, and Murshed Miah, 38, from Maidstone, and Mohammed Liakat Islam, 28, of Gillingham, deny murder.

They also deny preventing Mrs Chaggar's lawful burial, along with a fourth defendant, Rasad Miah, of Chatham.

Ms Cheema said Mrs Chaggar, a widow, who lived alone in Chatham, was last seen on 2 September.

She was visiting a day centre and collecting a prescription from a surgery.

'Still alive'

Her body was found after a smell underneath the floorboards at the grocery store was investigated.

Her handbag and jewellery were missing, said Ms Cheema.

image copyrightKent Police
image captionMurshed Miah, Abdul Hannan and Mohammed Liakat Islam all deny murder

Ms Cheema said there were no steps from the hatch to the basement below and it would have taken two people to lift the hatch.

A post-mortem examination suggested the injuries were consistent with being thrown into the basement while still alive.

"There is no evidence that Harjit Chaggar met her death by accident," she told the court. "She was alive - conscious or not - when she was thrown in there.

"Her killers showed no mercy and were only forced to reveal where she lay because of a decomposing smell."

The prosecution has not suggested any motive for murder.

Sani Globe was described as a grocery and butchers, which supplied local restaurants.

It was run by Mr Hannan and his brother Murshed Miah, Ms Cheema said.

Rasad Miah also worked there and Mr Islam was a butcher there, she said.

The jury was shown photographs of the place where Mrs Chaggar's body was discovered and CCTV footage of her in Chatham on the day she was last seen alive.

The trial continues.

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