Family members found guilty of the murder of a pregnant woman

09/07/2012

Four family members were today found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of the murder of 21 year-old Naila Mumtaz who they thought was possessed by evil spirits.

Following a 12 week trial, Naila's husband, Mohammed Tauseef Mumtaz, aged 25 and his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, both aged 51, as well as his brother-in-law, Hammad Hussan, 24 were all founding guilty of killing her.

Wendy Bounds a lawyer from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service Complex Casework Unit, said: "Naila Mumtaz, a kind hearted and beautiful young woman living in Pakistan with her parents, agreed to enter into an arranged marriage with the defendant, Mohammed Tauseef Mumtaz.

"She was aware that he suffered from a physical disability, but she was not put off by his appearance taking the kind hearted view that all living things had the same value. However, the jury today found that her husband and his family did not share her values.

"Naila was six months pregnant and living with the defendants in Birmingham when on 8 July 2009 the family made a 999 call for an ambulance to attend. All efforts to revive her by the paramedics and at the hospital failed, and she and her unborn baby died.

"She was subsequently found to have suffered injuries and the jury had to decide whether she had been assaulted, smothered and suffocated by her husband, his parents and her brother-in-law or whether, as they maintained, she was possessed by an evil spirit which took her life.

"This was not an easy case to bring before the court as it involved evidence from both the UK and Pakistan, and ensuring that the jury understood that although there were complex cultural beliefs which underpinned the defence case, there was evidence that the defendants had all given untruthful accounts as to what had taken place and their roles in the death of Naila.

"Sadly, Naila died before the help that is available from the police and the prosecution team was accessed. This case demonstrates that it is possible to achieve justice for girls in Naila's situation who are far away from their family, unable to speak English and with no one to turn to for help.

"Our thoughts are with Naila's family at this time and we hope that today's conviction brings some comfort to them."