A man has been jailed for at least 22 years for attacking his disabled wife with a metal table leg and then decapitating her with a kitchen knife in an act described by a UK judge as “perfect barbarity”.
Naveed Ahmed, 41, said he “snapped like a twig” when he murdered Tahira Ahmed, 38, at the family home in Northolt, west London, on May 27 last year after losing his job as a Lidl supermarket manager.
After the “ferocious and brutal” killing, he fled the house but was picked up nearby by police who spotted he was sweating heavily and had blood stains on his coat.
The Old Bailey heard police had previously been called to the home in Merton Avenue when Mrs Ahmed had reported that he had been violent towards her but did not want to take any action.
The court heard that Ahmed was born in Pakistan and came to the UK shortly before the marriage in 1998 which was arranged by the couple’s mothers, who were cousins.
He later came to regret the marriage because his wife suffered from a rare degenerative condition Morquio’s syndrome.
Ahmed had initially denied murdering the mother-of-two, but just before a trial was due to start earlier this month he changed his plea to guilty.
Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 22 years, judge Christopher Moss QC said: “Your marriage is reported as being volatile with suggestions of violence.
“It seems you may have regretted your marriage at an early stage but it also appears your wife did her best to keep the family together.
“Psychiatric reports in your case make it plain you are a man of jealous disposition. On the 27th of May last year you attacked her in the most brutal and ferocious way.
“You appeared to use a table leg to beat her. You took a kitchen knife that was later found in the kitchen sink and attacked her with it.
“You used it to effectively decapitate her at a time she was either dead or dying.
“There can be no doubt in my judgment that you intended to kill her and you did so in the most brutal and ferocious manner.”
The judge told Ahmed that in the circumstances, the sentence guidelines would start at a prison term of 15 years but he added: “The perfect barbarity of the killing of a defenceless woman in her own home is such an aggravating factor of your case to substantially increase the starting point.”
Outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said Ahmed had come to Britain in 1997 shortly before his marriage.
He had known that Mrs Ahmed suffered from Morquio’s syndrome for many years and it severely affected her mobility despite surgery.
Problems in the marriage began as early as 2000 and there were complaints of violence in the marriage towards his wife.
Ahmed admitted to doctors that he headbutted his wife on a number of occasions in 2009.
In 2012 police received a report of domestic violence on both sides but police took no further action and later delivered an Osman warning in March of that year.
In June 2012, Mrs Ahmed complained that her husband had struck her and threatened to “destroy your family” but again no further action was taken, the court heard.
The problems at home were compounded in 2013 when Ahmed was sacked from his supermarket job and launched a tribunal.
On the day of the killing, a neighbour called police after hearing Ahmed shouting and his wife trying to placate and calm him down before “hitting sounds”.
Ahmed had ripped a metal table leg off and used it to bludgeon his wife before repeatedly stab her with a kitchen knife and and then cutting off her head as she lay dying or dead in the living room.
A post mortem examination identified 70 “stabbing, cutting and blunt trauma” injuries to her body including defensive wounds to her hands and arms, Mr Heywood said.
Mrs Ahmed’s sister Zahra Hanif said in a family impact statement that the loss and manner of the death “shook the foundations of our lives” and had “reverberated in the community”.
She described her sister as a “gentle soul” who helped others and had the “strength to overcome her physical disability”.
Family members of Mrs Ahmed sat in court holding hands at the judge handed down the sentence.
In a statement after the hearing, they said: “On this day, there is no celebration, for we have forever lost a dearly loved daughter, sister, mother and friend.
“Tahira was the kindest, most patient and gentle individual, who lived for her children and family, she devoted her life to the welfare of her children and their best possible upbringing.
“Her life was cut short in the most brutal manner, by a barbaric man, with out-dated and backward ideals. He caused untold damage, which will forever haunt Tahira’s family and friends.
“He had no thought or consideration that he was depriving two young precious children from their mother and left all our lives and hearts in pieces.
“In light of this, not even life imprisonment could befit his heinous crime.
“We would like to collectively encourage any individual who has suffered domestic violence at any level to speak up, turn to the appropriate authorities for help and leave their abusers.
“You do not need to suffer in silence. Tahira, we miss you every second of every day.”