Man jailed for life for killing wife - Bedford

30/05/2013

A jealous husband who launched a brutal, frenzied knife attack on his younger wife in the street was jailed for a minimum of 25 years today, Thursday, 30 May 2013.

Sajid Mahmood, now 52, lay in wait for Afsana Kosser the day after they had been to court to decide the future of their children.

He was angry that Afsana, 35, had begun a new relationship with a less traditional work colleague and feared he would lose his children and the family home.

Afsana, who was born in Halifax, had formed a relationship with Zaheer Hussain, who worked with her at the Bedford job centre.

Prosecutor Ian Wade QC told Luton Crown Court: "He feared Zaheer was not only stealing his wife, but was intent on taking the house, the property and his children. A powerful emotion of jealousy was working away at Sajeed."

Mahmood had an arranged marriage with Afsana, who was his first cousin. He came to the UK from Pakistan in 1994. In 2011 they moved from West London to Bedford in an attempt to get the children a better education.

In January last year Mahmood, who worked as a bus driver in Northampton, pronounced Talek - the Islamic divorce after the relationship broke down. Afsana took out county court proceedings against her husband and obtained a non-molestation order, entitling her to be the sole occupant of the house they had bought together in Rosamund Road, Bedford.

Mahmood had seen his wife and Zaheer holding hands in the street. When he went to his home to ask if there was a relationship Zaheer denied anything was going on.

On Wednesday, 11  April  last year  he drove in his Peugeot car and waited for Afsana to leave the home to go to work.  When she reached Dudley Street he launched a "ferocious attack" stabbing her 24 times with a £12 knife he had bought from Sainsbury's.

He dialled 999 saying: "I have just killed my wife." He then called members of his family to tell them what he had done.

The jury of 8 men and 4 women were told that Mahmood of Sandy Road, Bedford admitted manslaughter, but denies murder. They convicted him of murder after four and a half hours.

After the verdict Mr Wade told the court that Mahmood had entered the UK in 1995 on a false passport. He said Afsana had not been enthusiastic about their wedding in that year and Mahmood "deliberately self-harmed and inflicted nasty knife wounds on himself."

Giving evidence Mahmood said he had fears about her relationship with Mr Hussain and was upset that Afsana would take his children. He said she had accused him of things he had not done and had taken family gold that should have been for the benefit of her children.

Mr Wade said: "What Mr Mahmood did was pre-meditated, calculated and planned. It didn't happen in the heat of the moment. We say he was out for revenge. He decided days before she was going to die."

Giving evidence Mahmood said his "whole world had collapsed" because he believed he had lost a court hearing the day before.

After a sleepless night, he said he drove to Afsana's home in Rosamund Road, Bedford. He said: "The whole night I had been thinking about how I had treated Afsana. I had given her everything she had desired and I wanted to ask her why she was doing this to me.

"I got up and said my prayers. I spent some time in solitude crying."

Speaking through an interpreter, he said that when Afsana came out of the house he went to speak to her. "All I can remember is that she ran towards me and I ran towards her. I heard screams. From that point I went blank. I simply couldn't hear anything from that point onwards," he said.

Mahmood told his barrister ,Diana Ellis QC, he did not remember producing the knife and assaulting her.

When asked by his barrister Diana Ellis QC about hundreds of text messages that were sent between Afsana and Zaheer he said: "She told me she was talking to her friend Asima."

He said that on 06 January, the day after her birthday, Afsana had been out with work colleagues and returned late. He said he told her that if she wanted a divorce she could have one, but he was concerned about the children. On 13 January he pronounced Talak - the Islamic divorce. "I still felt the same about her. I still loved her," he said.

Then on 21 January Afsana obtained a non-molestation order against him claiming he had inflicted mental and physical violence on her - something he denied.

He said that he had seen Afsana holding hands with divorced Zaheer. "I was sure they were seeing each other. That did not bother me but she was going out late at night.an She was not looking after the kids. She was destroying their lives," he said.

When he visited Zaheer's home and spoke to him in front of his father he categorically denied the relationship.

In addition, he had gone to the doctor who had prescribed anti-depressants, but he did not take them fearing that a mental issue might be used against him in a custody case.

He had bought the knife a week before the killing from Sainsbury's in Bedford. He said: "I had dreamt of sending my kids to Cambridge or Oxford - for them to have a good education. I was feeling my kids would be destroyed. I would rather kill myself and the people around them than put them through it."

When he gave evidence Zaheer Hussain agreed that on Christmas Day 2011 he had sent Afsana a text message saying she was "the most vivacious, precious and beautiful individual" he had the honour to meet.

In a message to Mr Hussain, Afsana said: "I have never met anyone like you before."

He told the jury that after he learned of her killing he was devastated. "I was distraught, because we had been in a relationship."

Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 25 years, Judge Michael Kay QC said: "Afsana felt suffocated by you and some members of your family. "

He said Afsana wanted a new life in Bedford and Mahmood was "angry and jealous" and "stalked her."

He told him: "You were self-obsessed and frustrated you were not getting your own way.

"You have deprived two young children of their mother. You will not be there for them while they grow up and they will grow up knowing what you have done to their mother.

"It was a brutal attack - one launched in rage."

Please note - all court copies  are provided by South Beds News Agency, who retain the copyright for all articles published.