Skip to main content

Accessibility controls

Main content area

Husband jailed for life after murdering wife in Ilford family home

|News, Violent crime

A husband and father-of-three who strangled his wife to death has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years.

Muhammad Ilyas, 41, murdered 32-year-old Maria Rafael Chavez at their home in Ilford on 13 May last year.

After the murder, Ilyas went on the school run before coming back home where the family discovered their mother’s lifeless body on the first-floor landing of their home.

Paramedics were called but Maria Chavez was pronounced dead shortly after. There were no visible signs of injury, and the death was initially considered non-suspicious. But a post-mortem examination later found that she had died from compression of the neck.

Ilyas was arrested on 26 May last year following the results of the post-mortem examination and additional concerns were also raised about his behaviour.

Today (Friday, 1 July 2022) at the Old Bailey, Ilyas was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years after being found guilty of murder following a trial at the same court.

Devi Kharran, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the CPS London Homicide unit, said: “Muhammad Ilyas spun a web of lies after killing his wife of more than a decade. He deliberately, and cruelly pretended to be shocked and dismayed at finding his wife’s unresponsive body inside their family home – despite murdering her himself mere hours before.

“The prosecution case included witness testimony from Maria Chavez’s friends and family who were able to detail the controlling nature of her marriage. Ilyas has never taken responsibility for his actions but has managed to tear his family apart.

“The CPS is committed to prosecuting offences of domestic violence. Our thoughts remain with Maria Chavez’s children and family at this time.”

Notes to editors

  • Muhammad Ilyas (DOB: 06/11/1980) is from Ilford
  • Devi Kharran is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the London Homicide unit in CPS London North.

Further reading

Scroll to top