A 27-year-old schizophrenic man today appeared in court accused of murdering his Bagel millionaire mother and sister at their £1.5million home.
Joshua Cohen was arrested and charged on suspicion of the double murder after he was spotted by a member of the public at a nearby park.
Leah Cohen, 66, and her daughter Hannah, 33, were found by police shortly after they were called to the home in Golders Green at 8.50pm on Friday night.
The Cohen family are long-time owners of Beigel Bake, a well-known bakery in east London’s Brick Lane, which is famous for its salt beef bagels.
It emerged last night, that weeks before the killing, Joshua had been cut out of the family fortune.
Wearing a grey jumper and matching tracksuit trousers, he spoke only to confirm his name, age and address in a 30-second hearing at Hendon Magistrates’ Court.
Cohen appeared without legal counsel and was urged by District Judge Dennis Brennan to reconsider his decision not to seek aid.
He said: ‘I know you haven’t got legal representation, I would urge you to think about that and be legally represented.’
Cohen will appear at the Old Bailey on Wednesday for a bail application hearing and again at the court in September for a plea and case management hearing.
His late father, Asher, was one of the founders of Beigel Bake in Brick Lane, London, and all three of the Cohen brothers had worked in the business.
A few weeks ago, his will revealed that he only named Joshua’s two older brothers, Nathan 30, and Daniel, 34, as directors of the company, according to the Daily Telegraph.
On Sunday, a relative paid tribute to the ‘loving and generous’ sister-in-law, who would have celebrated her 34th birthday on Wednesday.
Deborah Cohen, who is married to Daniel, 34, and jointly ran a cake-making business, Coco Cakes, with Hannah for the last five years, said: ‘My kids absolutely adored her.
‘She was a loving aunt to her niece and four nephews and the older ones loved nothing more than baking with her.
‘She was absolutely selfless and did everything for everyone else.
‘She was the greatest cook. We went over there every Sunday to eat together as a family and she made the most amazing food.’
Hannah had studied psychology at City University London and was a former pupil at the now-closed Carmel College in Wallingford.
Of her mother-in-law, Mrs Cohen added: ‘She was loving and generous and a wonderful mother to her five children.’
This morning, a simple message on the company Facebook page stated: ‘I’m very sad to say, there will be no more cakes by Coco Cakes.’
A friend of the family also spoke of his shock following the tragedy.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said his children went to school with siblings Nathan and Rachel.
He said: ‘It’s horrible, I couldn’t believe it when my son sent me a link to the story.
‘My kids went to school with Nathan and Rachel, they used to get the same coach to a Jewish school in Essex.
He added: ‘They’re a really nice family, but I know Josh has struggled for years with his mental illness. It’s terrible what’s happened.’
Speaking before the arrest, Detective Inspector Ian Lott from the Homicide and Major Crime Command described the murders as ‘a devastating attack on two women in their homes’ and said the investigation was ongoing.
One neighbour, 44, who did not want to be named, said he saw Cohen outside the house at around the time of the attack.
He said: ‘He was heading towards the tube station, which is where other people said they saw him wandering around.
‘I don’t know the mum’s name but I know she was disabled, mentally and psychically I think and she had a lot of help at the house.
‘I live right across the road; I’ve spoken to him and sat on the wall and had a cigarette with him – it was that type of relationship.
‘He used to live in the house but there were problems, so he moved to an annexe at the back of the house for a while, but there were more problems.’
Golders Green Crescent has been closed off by police as investigations are carried out inside the house.