The husband reportedly could not accept his wife leaving him
A Bangladeshi man, described as an “overbearing” husband who killed his wife after their marriage broke down, was sentenced to 26 years in prison by a UK court on Wednesday.
Mohammed Anhar Ali hid in a cupboard armed with two knives and scarf for nearly 10 hours in the home where his wife Nazia Ali lived with the couple’s two daughters in east London, before attacking her once the kids had fallen asleep.
The 32-year-old then called the emergency services the next morning to confess to the killing in October last year, a jury at the Old Bailey court in London was told.
Sentencing Anhar, Judge Wendy Joseph said: “There was evidence of his being manipulating and overbearing towards Nazia.
"His conduct was fuelled by a failure to accept that Nazia was entitled to leave him, entitled to divorce him, and entitled to live her own life. With tragic consequences, he took things into his own hands."
The court was told that Anhar was a devout Muslim who expected his 25-year-old British Muslim wife to live a "lifestyle that she found intolerable." She wanted her girls, aged six and three, and herself to live a more Western lifestyle – rejecting Ali's overbearing rules on how she had to behave.
During the attack, Anhar punched Nazia, causing multiple injuries to her head and ribs, and then strangled her to death with a scarf.
The court was told Anhar then covered the body with a white sheet and got into bed to sleep next to his two children before calling the police the next morning to hand himself in.
According to court reports, Scotland Yard officers were met at the door by a fully dressed Anhar, who was drinking a cup of tea. He led the police officers to the living room where Nazia's body was lying on the floor. Anhar admitted that he had killed his wife and asked the officers to be quiet as his two young children were sleeping upstairs.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into custody and an investigation was launched by detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command. They discovered that the couple had been separated for over a year and that Nazia had sought a divorce as she started seeing another man.
Detective Sergeant Jake Ellis of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, who investigated the case, said: "The breakdown of this relationship is what triggered Ali's ill feelings towards Nazia. He could not deal with Nazia moving on, and another man being part of his children' lives.
"However, to take such ruthless and detrimental action that deprives two small children of their mother is heartless. I hope this verdict brings some comfort and closure to the Begum family, who sadly must now raise Nazia's children without her. The circumstances of this incident are chilling and Ali must face the consequences of his actions now.”
The court heard that the couple had met soon after Mohammed Anhar Ali arrived in the UK from Bangladesh, and that Nazia became pregnant with their first child soon after they were married. However, the two-year marriage broke down by November 2017, when Nazia made up her mind to seek a divorce.
Reading a victim impact statement from Nazia’s mother Janahara Begum, on behalf of the victim's family, the prosecutor in the case said: "The day Nazia died was the worst day of our lives. Our hearts are broken beyond repair.
"How do I explain to a three-year-old that her mother has been murdered? They will never feel her comfort again. Every day when they ask me when their mother will come back from heaven, my heart breaks even more."