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Man jailed for life for 2001 murder

|News, Violent crime

A murderer has been jailed for life for the killing of his estranged wife.

Zafar Iqbal, 62, originally from Pakistan, will serve a minimum term of 13 years and 350 days for the murder in 2001. He was sentenced today at the Old Bailey.

Iqbal strangled Naziat Zafar (nee Khan) to death at her home in Streatham, in front of three of their four children in August 2001.

He then fled back to his homeland before being extradited to the UK in September 2021 to stand trial.

Iqbal visited Naziat while his two eldest daughters were at the local mosque. His son, who was 15 at the time, was away visiting relatives.

During the course of the visit Iqbal assaulted Naziat and used a scarf to strangle his victim in the presence of their youngest daughter, who was aged 3.

The assault was interrupted when the two older daughters returned home from the mosque. Letting them into their home, he then continued his attack on his wife, threatening the children into silence, before finally killing Naziat.

He then took the three girls to a family in Croydon, lied to the children that their mother was recovering in hospital, before fleeing the country. It was only when the son returned the following day and found his mother dead in her home that the alarm was raised.

An extradition request was originally sent to Pakistan in March 2010, and Iqbal was arrested in his homeland in December 2017. He was then returned to the UK last year, where he was arrested and held in custody, until pleading guilty to her murder at a hearing at the Old Bailey on 8 December.

Following his decision to plead guilty, CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor Olcay Sapanoglu said: “This was, by any measure, an horrific crime. Iqbal clearly intended to murder Naziat, even though this meant continuing to strangle her in front of the children.

“He showed no compassion to either this wife or his children, who have been deeply traumatised by what they saw that day. They have shown enormous strength of character to give their accounts to the police, and to rebuild their lives following such an horrific event.

“Iqbal on the other hand fled the country, abandoning his children, and has remained in Pakistan until he was returned. I would like to thank the Pakistani authorities and our extradition colleagues for their help in this matter.

“Now that justice has been served I hope this will enable Naziat’s children and her extended family to find peace.”

Notes to editors

  • Zafar Iqbal (DOB 6/6/1960) was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a minimum term of 13 years 350 days. This takes into account time spent in custody, including during extradition (5 years, 15 days)
  • Olcay Sapanoglu is a CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor who works for the London Homicide Unit.

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