Father on trial for triple murder

by Kuheli Biswas

29 October 2019

After 12 years on the run, Chef Mohammed Abdul Shakur is being tried in Old Bailey for the death of his family.

Juli Begum and her daugthers Anika and Thanha Khanum ( Metropolitan Police/PA )

On Tuesday, the jury was provided evidence against Mohammed Abdul Shakur, 46, who has been accused of killing his estranged wife Juli Begum and their five and six-year-old daughters, Anika and Thanha Khanum in 2007 New Year’s Day in their East London home.

Juli had married the defendant at the age of 19 and had sponsored Shakur’s entry into the UK from Bangladesh. The motive of the homicides is stated to be due to an argument between the couple of Shakur’s immigration status as his passport had already expired by 2007.

The prosecutor, David Spens QC told the court that it could not have been anyone else apart from Shakur, who killed the three as the crime scene had no sign of forced entry. He also stated that covering the bodies is an intimate act, which only someone close to the victims will think of doing.

Mr. Spens said: “The children were killed because they could identify him” as a motive. It was added that the defendant was not very ‘kind’ to the children according to Juli’s conversation with her neighbour as he wanted boys.

The Independent reported that Shakur had previously threatened Juli: “If you don’t correct my visa and you don’t make me legal to stay in this country then I will kill you and kill your whole family.”

Other evidence presented by the prosecution included fingerprints of the defendant found on the jewelry boxes of Juli, whose contents were missing. Begum was previously assaulted by Shakur in 2001.

Judge Richard Marks QC briefed the court that Shakur ‘did not have answers for cross- examination.’

In a witness statement, Mary Banweyana, a neighbour of the victims stated that she never saw anyone visit Juli’s house. The evidence collected did not have any indication of a boyfriend, who could have done the murders.

Jurors heard Begum’s sister Sheli’s statement to whom Shakur confessed: “I murdered your sister and if you tell the police, I’ll murder your family.”

Another witness, Shakur’s colleague said that the defendant borrowed £100 from him on 1st January and said “Juli is not giving me space at home. If I don’t give her the money she won’t let me in.” Shakur borrowed an additional £200 from his manager.

Shakur who left for Bangladesh two days after the murder told a travel agent that his “father was ill” while buying the one-way ticket for £340. He had also gone to the Bangladeshi High Commission to renew his passport for the travel, while he informed his friends that he was going to work. Mr. Spens said: “He was telling lies because he didn’t know if the police had found the bodies.”

Shakur told a friend following the days of Juli’s death that he had left his job because he does not have a national insurance number.

He was extradited from India in April of this year and had denied giving any evidence to the prosecution’s case.

The prosecutor told the juror that Shakur had sex with his wife before suffocating her, which might not have been consensual.

While publishing this report, Shakur was found guilty of the triple murder after 12 years of being on the run.

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