A teenager who drew up an agreement with a “demon” to sacrifice women in exchange for a lottery win has been convicted of the murders of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.
The parents of 46-year-old Bibaa Henry and 27-year-old Nicole Smallman are Chris and Wilhelmina Smallman, known as Mina, who live in Ramsgate.
Mina is a retired British Anglican priest and was appointed as a trustee to Ramsgate’s Project MotorHouse in 2017.
Danyal Hussein created a handwritten plan, signed in his own blood, in which he pledged to murder six women every six months; in return requesting financial reward.
In the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020, he made good on his pact, killing complete strangers Bibaa and Nicole in a pre-meditated attack that officers believe saw him observe them for some time before stabbing both to death in Fryent Country Park, Wembley.
Hussein, 19, of Guy Barnet Grove, Eltham was found guilty by a unanimous jury following a four-week trial at the Old Bailey for the murders of Bibaa and Nicole, and possession of an offensive weapon. He will be sentenced at the same court on September 22.
Senior investigating officer in the case, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, from the Specialist Crime Command said: “This is one of the most shocking and chilling cases I have ever dealt with, and I know the investigation will stay with all of those involved for many years to come. Hussein went out that night with the intention of killing in order to satisfy his bizarre fantasies under the deluded belief he would be rewarded with financial prosperity. His wicked acts have cut short the lives of two completely innocent women – who, even more devastatingly, were exceptionally close sisters simply out celebrating a birthday – and left family, friends and colleagues bereft, still struggling to come to terms with such a random and senseless attack.
“Bibaa and Nicole were very popular, had lots of friends and lived life to the full. Their bond and shared pleasure in being in each other’s company was clear to see from the heart-breaking images and footage which captured them together that night. It is still beyond my comprehension what impact their murders will have had on their family and friends and my thoughts are first and foremost today with them. Throughout our investigation and the subsequent trial they have shown the utmost dignity in the most unimaginable of circumstances. No normal person will be able to comprehend Hussein’s motivation but I do hope that his conviction can bring the families at least some sense of justice.
“Conversely, Hussein has presented as an arrogant and egotistical character who from the outset has denied any culpability, compounding his actions by forcing the family to endure the additional trauma of a trial. He was incredibly disrespectful to witnesses and the family whilst he acted like a petulant child in the dock. Despite his planning prior to the incident, ironically it was in part his mistakes that ultimately led to his downfall, by leaving the weapon and a bloodied glove at the scene to be found and linked directly to him. Perhaps he believed the oath he signed would somehow protect him from retribution.
“Even though he was seen on CCTV going into his house, walking down a street and using his bank card, he maintained that it simply was not him. Even though his DNA was matched to the blood and DNA all over the crime scene, he again denied it was his DNA. I strongly believe that had he not been injured so badly that day and then apprehended he would have gone on to carry out further murders to fulfil his twisted pact, and so I am grateful the jury were able to see through his preposterous claim that he wasn’t responsible despite all the overwhelming evidence against him.
“This case presented a number of challenges including a vast and complex crime scene and lack of witnesses. And despite Hussein leaving a large amount of his blood at the scene, with no match on the DNA database we found ourselves in a frustrating position. Determined to find the person responsible as a matter of urgency, hundreds of officers were deployed to the investigation, from forensic officers gathering vital evidence, search and dive teams carrying out fingertip searches to local officers on reassurance patrols. The additional familial work carried out on the DNA sample led us to Hussein.
“My officers then carried out meticulous CCTV enquiries which provided a clear picture of his movements both that night and in the days leading up to the incident, as well as a hospital visit the following day. It is this work which I believe created a watertight case against Hussein. I would also like to acknowledge the overwhelming support of the public, who provided information, statements and footage which proved crucial to our investigation.”
On the evening of Friday 5 June, Bibaa had arranged a small gathering to celebrate her 46th birthday in Fryent Country Park in Wembley; the location within the park she chose being a well-known spot for panoramic views across London.
CCTV footage captured Bibaa and Nicole at around 7.30pm in the Kingsbury Co-Op buying some food and drinks for the party. They appeared to be in good spirits, with Nicole seen having a chat with a man next to her at the checkout. From here they made their way to the park, CCTV again showing them entering via the Slough Lane entrance just before 19.40hrs. Once inside they headed to the top of the hill and “set up camp”. The weather was good and, over the course of the evening, friends arrived for the gathering where they ate, drank, played cards and listened to music.
As darkness fell, guests started to leave, and by midnight the sisters were alone. Clearly keen to continue the celebrations the pair played music and danced with fairy lights. At 1.04am Nicole sent a text message to her boyfriend saying that she was “dancing in a field”. This was the last time he would hear from her. The pair had set up Bibaa’s phone to take a series of images using a clicker device, recording 150 images in sequence of them dancing and having fun. In the final image, captured at 1.13am, now on Saturday, 6 June, Bibaa and Nicole could be seen looking to their left as if distracted by something. Police believe their attention had been drawn to Hussein’s arrival.
The exact circumstances of the murders remain unclear, but it is believed that Bibaa was taken by surprise by Hussein and quickly overpowered. She was stabbed eight times. The attack on Nicole was frenzied and relentless, resulting in her suffering a total of 28 stab wounds. In addition, she received a number of cuts to her arms, hands and legs, suggesting she put up a significant and incredibly brave fight.
Following the murders it is believed Hussein took both bodies to a wooded area seemingly in an effort to hide them from public view. He then attempted to clean up the scene, placing a number of items from the party in rubbish bags or concealing them in the wooded area and throwing the victims’ mobile phones into a pond within the park.
Given the relative rarity of a stranger murder, let alone involving two victims, officers spent much of the initial investigation ruling out those known to the women. Once it was established that an unknown person was responsible, detectives set about working against the clock to identity the perpetrator.
Detectives pored through hours of CCTV, doorbell and dash-cam footage, provided in many cases by those living and working in the area, and took hundreds of statements in the initial days and weeks following the murders.
In the early hours of Wednesday, 1 July, Hussein was arrested at his Eltham address. During a search of Hussein’s bedroom officers discovered what seemed to account for a motive – a handwritten note purporting to be a contract with a demon, where Hussein pledged to “perform a minimum of six sacrifices every six months” and to “sacrifice only women”. Under the headline “For Me” were the words: “Win the Mega Millions Super Jackpot”. The document was signed in Hussein’s blood and on top were three lottery tickets, which he had purchased following the murders.
He will be sentenced on September 22.