An uncle who murdered his niece with a spike and then dumped her body “like rubbish” after she refused a forced marriage has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years. Mohammed Taroos Khan, 53, butchered university undergraduate Somaiya Begum, 20, in a savage attack in the living room of her grandmother’s house where she had been living after fleeing in terror from her Muslim father and his deranged brother.
Khan was found unanimously guilty of murder at Bradford Crown Court but on Wednesday as the monster was jailed, campaigners questioned why the biomechanical student at Leeds Beckett University had not been safe despite the courts putting her under a Forced Marriage Protection Order after she refused her father’s demand as a 16-year-old to marry a Pakistani cousin.
Child marriage survivor and women’s right campaigner Payzee Mahmod said: “Somaiya Begum has been failed, following an FMPO being taken out when she was 18, Somaiya should have been safeguarded.
“This case clearly shows there have been opportunities to protect Somaiya, and it’s important girls and women know they can come forward to seek help and can trust that they can make it away from their families safely.
“I would urge anyone who is at risk of child marriage, forced marriage and ‘honour’-based abuse to reach out.”
Jailing Khan for the so-called Honour Killing, The Honourable Mr Justice Garnham described Somaiya as “an intelligent young woman of spirit and courage”.
She was reported missing last June but it took police 11 days to find her body stashed on waste ground just a mile away from her grandmother’s Bradford home.
Khan was banned from the house as part of a restraining order but evaded police scrutiny despite eight previous convictions for 12 offences, including battery against his own daughter who he threatened to “chop up”.
The killer managed to get himself a set of keys to the property before plunging a metal spike into his victim, bundling her body in a rolled-up carpet, and leaving it to be ravaged by rats and maggots.
The trial heard how Somaiya’s father had been “humiliated and incandescent with rage” after his daughter’s refusal to wed.
Defence barrister Zafar Ali told how in the Muslim Pathan community “blood feuds” could last generations and suggested “humiliated” father Yaseen, who has an “awful attitude towards women” and had a “motive to kill”.
The court heard how the father took a “one-way” ticket to Pakistan days before his brother’s trial began.
Det Supt Marc Bowes of West Yorkshire Police said: “Somaiya was a bright, young woman who was studying to get a degree, had a part-time job to support herself and was happy and content with home life.
She had her whole life ahead of her and it was cruelly cut short by her uncle, someone who is meant to love, care and protect her.”