An Old Bailey jury needed only two days to return a guilty verdict in a shocking triple murder case. Mohammed Abdul Shakur, 47, killed Juli Begum, 26, along with daughters Anika, five, and Thanha, six, on 1 January 2007 after arguing with his wife about his immigration status. Mohammed who was a curry house chef murdered his two young daughters and wife because she refused to help him renew his visa was today jailed for at least 40 years.
The shocking incident was made more shocking when the court was told that the chef had sex with his wife one last time before he smothered her with a pillow and strangled Anika with a white sock and fractured Thanha’s skull, before fleeing for Bangladesh on the next available flight. As reported by the Daily Mail.
Once back in Bangladesh he confessed his crimes to his sister-in-law, warning her: ‘If you tell the police I will murder you and your children.’ Having made his confession Mohammed then fled to India illegally. This is where he hid for many years.
Shakur denied three counts of murder but declined to give evidence in his trial. The jury deliberated for two days to find him guilty of all the charges.
Sentencing Shakur at the Old Bailey, Judge Richard Marks QC said: ‘This was a wicked, vicious and sustained attack on two little girls, and on your wife who at 4ft and 8in was a tiny woman.
‘By contrast, at around 6ft tall and well built, you were no match for her whatsoever. It is difficult to imagine three more vulnerable and defenceless victims.
‘You, to this day, have not shown one iota of remorse for what you did. The tenor of your defence is that these killings were not done by you – a defence the jury saw through.’
The judge sentenced him to a 40-year jail term, minus the six years, six months and six days spent in custody in India and the UK.
The court heard Shakur had since ‘accepted’ the jury’s findings and he showed little emotion as the judge returned the sentence.
Police went to the family home in East Ham, east London, on January 10, 2007 after concerns from Ms Begum’s relatives.
The body of 4ft 8in Ms Begum was discovered beneath a bedcover with Anika laid across her and Thanha nearby. By the end of the week, Shakur had fled to Bangladesh on a £340 flight after telling associates his father was gravely ill, but was eventually arrested in India in May 2013 before being extradited in April 2019.
The couple had an arranged marriage in Bangladesh when Ms Begum was 19, but Shakur had repeatedly been violent towards his wife and did not like their children much because they were not boys, the court heard.
Jurors were not told of Ms Begum’s further claim that he had raped her three or four times around the end of 2000. While working in the Ancient Raj Indian restaurant in Frimley, Surrey, Shakur was paid £130 a day cash in hand and was allowed to live above his work, jurors heard. Reports the Daily Mail.
He sent money to his family in Bangladesh while Ms Begum received child benefits, the court heard.
The couple had rowed over his immigration status and financial contribution to the household in the run-up to the massacre, jurors were told. Junior prosecutor Kerry Broome broke down in tears during a previous hearing as she read out how the murder impacted the victims’ distraught family.
As members of the jury burst into tears junior prosecutor Kerry Broome faltered as she read Ms Begun’s sister Sheli’s statement and a police officer had to take over.
It read: ‘Juli was not just my sister. She was also my best friend. We spoke all the time on the phone. She was a person I used to share everything with and I was the same for her.
‘My nieces were like daughters to me. I feel the pain as much today as if it was yesterday that they died. I feel the loss of the women my nieces never got to become.
‘They used to talk non-stop. Anika used to love to play dress-up. Thanha was always reading a book. You would always find her with a book; she was very bright.
‘It upsets me so much to think about what they might have witnessed.’
Sheli also described how their mother, Karful Nessa, ‘would cry in the middle of the night’ and was so depressed family members would have to sit with her.
Ms Begum said: ‘She (Ms Nessa) suffered from depression and it affected her health.
‘She used to cry all the time, she told me all the time she couldn’t concentrate and couldn’t sleep.
‘She said she could hear Thanha and Anika crying out to her.’
As members of the Old Bailey jury burst into tears junior prosecutor Kerry Broome faltered as she read Ms Begun’s sister Sheli’s statement and a police officer had to take over
Ms Begum added: ‘I see them in my mind. The only thing I can think of is them, not my husband or my own children.
‘It has destroyed my life – I cannot watch the television or see a film without something triggering back to what happened. It will be with us for the rest of our lives.’
David Spens, QC, prosecuting, said Ms Begum ‘never had visitors’ and lived an insular ‘friendless’ life.
Mother-of-four Mary Banweyana said Ms Begum visited her house twice and their daughters would play.
Ms Banweyana described her as ‘always smiling and happy’ and would stop to talk to her.
She said: ‘The last time I saw Juli’s children was when they finished school for the Christmas holidays. The children seemed fine and very happy.’
She last saw Ms Begum when she was washing her husband’s car, on December 28, and they would talk unlike Shakur who ‘never spoke’ or would say hello.
Ms Begum kept 22 carat gold necklaces, earrings and bangles worth £15,000 in her bedroom, together with a gold wedding set which has never been traced. The article can be read in full here at the Daily Mail.