A father screamed at his family to run as a crossbow attacker chased him into their home and fired an arrow, hitting his pregnant wife and narrowly missing her unborn baby.
Eight months pregnant Sana Muhammad was killed in front of her five children as she did the washing up at the family home in Ilford yesterday morning.
Her husband, Imtiaz Muhammad, went to the shed at 7.30am to put a box away and discovered the armed attacker hiding inside.
The father-of-three shouted ‘run, run, run’ as the killer chased him into the kitchen and fired the weapon.
The 35-year-old mother-of-five was hit by a bolt and was rushed to hospital where medics delivered her baby son with the arrow still lodged in her abdomen.
The tiny baby, who relatives have named Ibrahim, is now being looked after in hospital, where doctors say he is in a stable condition.
The victim’s husband told The Evening Standard: ‘I can’t help thinking she took my arrow. Maybe it should have hit me. The kids were all there, it was horrific.’
The arrow is said to have passed just inches from the unborn baby before his mother ran upstairs to get away, the arrow still stuck in her body.
Mr Muhammad added: ‘The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby. The baby was due in four weeks. They operated with the arrow still in because it would have been too dangerous to take out.’
Neighbours said Mrs Muhammad’s ex-husband, Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, was taken away by police. He has since been charged with murder.
Heartbroken Mr Muhammad described his partner of seven years as a ‘wonderful mother and wife’.
Friends said she had five children, three with her previous partner, aged 12, 14 and 18, and two with Mr Muhammad, aged two and five.
Mrs Muhammad, who was born in Mauritius, had been a Hindu but converted to Islam in order to wed builder Imtiaz, who is originally from Pakistan.
The couple met and fell in love after her marriage to Mr Unmattallegadoo, who is also from Mauritius, fell apart.
‘Sana became a Muslim so she could marry Imtiaz. Their’s was a love marriage,’ a close family friend, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline.
The friend added: ‘She is from Mauritius and had previously been a Hindu. Her marriage to her first husband was arranged. He was so much older than her and they were not happy.
‘They lived together in the house [in Newbury Park]but he [Ramanodge] moved out after they split up.’
The friend said of Mrs Muhammad’s second marriage: ‘Sana and Imtiaz were very happy. They loved having the kids around them. We all used to spend time together and share food. It is such a tragedy what has happened to her.’
A witness of the aftermath of the attack said: ‘The husband Imtiaz came out the house screaming for help – he was banging on doors.
‘The kids were all there and they were crying for help. Imtiaz had gone to put a cardboard TV box in his garage and he found the ex husband standing there.
‘It was 7.30am, so the devil must have been there in the night, laying in wait.’
Neighbour Navneet Buttar, 35, was at home at time of the incident and also saw the aftermath.
She said: ‘I saw man come out he was shaking, nervous and he said ‘help, help’. Then within minutes the police came.’
Ms Buttar described Sana as a ‘very nice lady’, adding: ‘She is my friend on this road. Her kids and my kids go to nursery together.’
Friends said the victim converted to Islam seven years ago, shortly before she remarried.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘A man has been charged with the murder of a woman in Ilford. This follows an incident at an address in Applegarth Drive, Ilford at approximately 07:40hrs on Monday, 12 November.
‘The victim was found suffering an abdominal injury. She was taken to hospital where she later died. Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command are investigating.
‘No other persons are sought in connection with this investigation. The arrested man and woman were known to each other. Enquiries into the circumstances continue.’
Mrs Muhammad became London’s 120th homicide victim this year, with another killing in Balham last night taking the total number killed in the capital in 2018 to 121.
It means that with more than a month left to go until the New Year, the total is already above the 118 homicides seen in the capital in 2017.
Experienced detectives say they have been shocked by the volume of violent crime and ferocity of some attacks in the capital this year.
Steve O’Connell, Chairman of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee said today: ‘We have reached the depressing situation where London has seen the numbers of people killed so far this year reach the same total as for the whole of last year.
‘This is a tragedy not only for those most affected, the family and friends of the victims, but for all Londoners.
‘Violent crime now has to be the top priority for the capital and it is time that more action was taken by the Mayor, alongside the Met, and by central government to stem the tide of lawlessness.
‘Recent initiatives like the Mayor’s planned Violence Reduction Unit may be part of the answer in the long run but Londoners are crying out for urgent solutions now – not 10 years in the future.’