Bagel tycoon’s son admits stabbing mother and sister to death in family's £2.5m north London home

Ellena Cruse
Joshua Cohen's family ran the Beigel Bake bakery in Brick Lane Met Police

The son of a bagel tycoon has admitted stabbing his mother and sister to death at their £2.5 million family home days after his release from prison.

Joshua Cohen, 29, was sent to Broadmoor hospital indefinitely in 2018 after being found mentally unfit to enter pleas to charges of murdering mother-of-five Louise Cohen, 64, and Hannah Cohen, 33.

After his mental health improved, Cohen, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was brought back to the Old Bailey.

The court heard that Cohen had worked at the renowned family-owned Beigel Bake bakery in Brick Lane, in the East End, but left after “issues” with customers.

Members of the Cohen family ran the famous Beigel Bake bakery on Brick Lane (Rebecca Reid/Evening Standard)

He lived in an annex in the garden of the Cohens’ six-bedroom mansion in Golders Green, north London, only being allowed back in to the main house if one of his brothers was present.

On the evening of August 11 2017, he attacked his widowed mother and sister in the basement laundry room after Mrs Cohen let him into house.

Mrs Cohen suffered 13 stab wounds and her daughter was stabbed in the neck, severing the carotid artery.

Cohen was sent to Broadmoor hospital after being found mentally unfit (PA Archive/PA Images)

Cohen changed out of his bloody clothes and was arrested the following day after he was seen in the street by officers.

Just 11 days before the killings, Cohen was released from Wormwood Scrubs after serving a short sentence for assaulting his family.

Mrs Whitehouse said: “The records show that during his time in prison, his mental state was very poor. He was released, apparently without medication, and was referred to the community psychiatric team.

“His care co-ordinator visited him at home on August 9 2017 but there was no answer and the care co-ordinator was unable to contact a family member.

“That appears to have been the extent of involvement by the community psychiatric team in the period following his release up until the killings.”

Spiky-haired Cohen entered guilty pleas to the manslaughter of the women by diminished responsibility, but denied their murders.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said the Crown accepted the pleas following psychiatric reports.

A local authority report had since acknowledged “failings” in Cohen’s case and made a “number of recommendations”, Mrs Whitehouse said.

In victim impact statements, Cohen’s three surviving siblings spoke of their fears for the safety of their families in the future, the court was told.

Psychiatrist Dr Shamir Patel, who had seen Cohen four times over the last two years, said he expected him to remain in hospital for “many, many years”.

He said his condition was “extremely severe” and one of the worst he had seen in his 15-year career.

Handing Cohen a hospital order without limit of time, Judge Richard Marks QC offered his condolences to his family for their “terrible ordeal”.

He said: “It is clear (from) all the evidence that Joseph is a very, very sick man.

“I have read of your concerns expressed by you for the future but I’m entirely confident it will be a long time before he will be released in the community.”

Additional reporting by PA Media