Husband sentenced to life for setting wife on fire

21/03/2016

A husband, who set his wife on fire in their flat, has today been found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 25 years.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard how 31-year-old Nazia Akhtar had met and then later married 30-year-old Muhammed Hammed in 2014. He then moved into her flat in Acocks Green.

On 25 April 2015, the victim was decorating the flat and had purchased some white spirit in order to clean some paint brushes.

The defendant arrived home that evening and the couple got into an argument.

As the victim used the white spirit to clean up some paint, Hammed lit the bottom of her top with his lighter which engulfed her in flames.

The victim ran into the bathroom to try to put out the flames, but in doing so, she tragically knocked over a shelf upon which there was more white spirit.

The neighbours heard the screams of Mrs Akhtar and ran to her assistance. The emergency services were called.

The victim received 60 per cent burns to her body and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment. The defendant received 17 per cent burns to his body.

Seven weeks later, Mrs Akhtar sadly passed away.

Following his medical treatment, Hammed was arrested and later charged with the murder of his wife.

David Parsons, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: 

"Muhammed Hammed and Nazia Akhtar had only been married for eight months, but during that time, he had physically and mentally abused her. This culminated in the two of them having an argument and Hammed setting her on fire.

"Whilst in hospital, the victim managed to speak to the police and informed them what had occurred. Through this statement as well as forensic evidence, the prosecution team were able to build a strong case against Hammed.

"Throughout this prosecution the defendant has denied deliberately setting his wife on fire; however, a jury has today found him guilty of murdering his wife. He will now have to deal with the consequences of his actions.

"Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of Nazia."