A widower who vanished after filming a video confessing to abusing his stepdaughter is ‘obviously’ dead despite his body having never been found, a court has heard.
Surie Suksiri, 31, and her partner Juned Sheikh, 48, allegedly kept Frank McKeever’s body in the bath for three days while covered in bleach before buying a £350 car and driving 80 miles to dispose of it.
Mr McKeever, 63, was last seen visiting the couple at their home in north London on August 28, 2021.
Suksiri admitted to an undercover police officer called ‘Nat’ they had ‘battered the f*** out of him’, the Old Bailey heard previously.
Police found a 47-second video of him confessing to abusing her when she was six saying ‘I deserve to be punished’. The couple also took humiliating photos of him with his bottom exposed, jurors were told.
Surie Suksiri, 31, claims she found her stepfather dead and her partner forced her to help dispose of the body
Juned Sheikh, 48, denies murdering Frank McKeever, as does his partner
Suksiri and Sheikh both deny murder and preventing the lawful and decent burial of his body.
Suksiri claims she found Mr McKeever dead after Sheikh assaulted him and he forced her to dispose of the body with him.
Sheikh has not given evidence but told police Mr McKeever left the house alive and well.
In his closing speech to the jury prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones, KC, asked the jury to look at how much Suksiri’s account had changed over time.
‘In [her] police interview she said Mr McKeever left the flat. She said: “Frank’s fine, go and look in Newcastle.”
‘She said he was excited to go off and celebrate his birthday.
‘But when arrested and interviewed as a suspect it changed, it was no comment.
‘Remember her boasting to Nat about that, she thought they had “no body, no evidence,” she thought she could go no comment and she’d get away with it.
‘But then everything changed when she told Nat the truth and she confessed. Even then, the next time she was interviewed she tried to hold onto her initial lie.
‘She said he’s alive. “He’s very good at disappearing,” she said.
Mr McKeever, 63, ‘vanished off the face of the earth’ after visiting his stepdaughter at her north London home in August 2021
‘She lied through her teeth. Instead of taking the chance then to give an account of what really happened she chose to lie – to try to mislead the police.
‘By the time the prosecution case closed before you the position was very different from back in September 2021 when the defendants were first approached as potential witnesses.
‘When the prosecution case closed that was when they both had the opportunity to go into the witness box and give evidence to you.
‘One of them did, up to a point, and one of them didn’t.’
‘Mr Sheikh has not given you any account of what happened that awful night when Mr McKeever came round to Ms Suksiri’s flat.
‘If it is going to be suggested he’s alive and well he’s managing without the £8,300 still sitting untouched in his bank account.
‘He hasn’t gone home, he hasn’t used his Freedom card, he hasn’t made contact with anyone including his family who he was so excited to recently get back in touch with.
‘And where could he be? He hasn’t got a passport, he barely knew how to use a mobile phone – he had to keep it in a pouch around his neck so he wouldn’t lose it.
‘Even if he wanted to, does he strike you as someone who could go and live a secret life completely under the radar and evade all attempts to find him for two years?
‘We suggest that any arguments about the possibility of Frank McKeever still being alive are equivalent to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic as it sinks. That ship has sailed, or rather, it has sunk.
‘I’m not going to waste your time trying to persuade you Mr McKeever is dead – of course he is dead.
‘That is amongst the easiest decisions any jury has ever had to make.
‘The evidence he is dead is completely overwhelming – not least because Suire Suksiri has confessed that they killed him and disposed of his body.
‘What explanation could there be for her telling you that other than it is true?
‘How absurd would it have been for Mr Sheikh to come to the witness box and say ‘he’s fine, he left he flat’ when his co-accused has already admitted that he is dead?
‘We would have been in La La Land with him standing there trying to keep a straight face saying “he’s alive” and you would have laughed him out of court.’
Suksiri is the youngest daughter of Mr McKeever’s late wife.
Sheikh, of Camberwell, southeast London, and Suksiri, of Islington, north London, deny murdering the lifelong Birmingham City fan and preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.
The trial continues.