Sunday 18 March 2018

Murder accused identified as ‘Liar B**tard’ on victim’s phone

Natasha Reid

A MURDER accused was identified on the phone of his alleged victim as ‘Liar B**tard’ in their native Punjabi, his trial has heard.

Shahzad Hussain of Woodland Avenue, Mosney, Co Meath is on trial at the Central Criminal Court, where he has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife’s cousin, Muhammad Arif, (32) on January 7, 2011.

The 31-year-old has also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to his (Mr Hussain’s) wife, Rashida Bibi Haider (now 41), and to intentionally or recklessly causing her serious harm.

He’s alleged to have carried out the stabbings on January 6, 2011 at Mr Arif’s apartment in Fitzwilliam Court, Dyer Street, Drogheda, Co Louth. He told gardai that he had found his alleged victims in bed together; Ms Haider has denied that, saying she was in the apartment collecting some things.

The trial already heard that all three were from Pakistan and had been living together in Fitzwilliam Court until December 2010. By then, the arranged marriage between Ms Haider and Mr Hussain had encountered problems, with the accused suspecting that his wife and Mr Arif were having an affair.

Both husband and wife moved out separately in the month before Mr Arif’s death.

The trial has been hearing details from the phone records of all three, with the jury hearing that neither Ms Haider nor Mr Hussain were saved under their own names on Mr Arif’s phone. Mr Hussain was saved as ‘Jhota Lainti’.

Punjabi interpreter Sabir Khan today told Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that this translated into English as ‘Liar B**tard’.

Earlier, the court heard that Mr Hussain was at the alleged crime scene for three minutes at the most that day.

Detective Garda Seán Fitzpatrick agreed with Mr McGinn that with reference to CCTV, mobile phone evidence and a witness, the earliest Mr Hussain could have entered the apartment was 2.02pm. He also agreed that Mr Hussain was seen on CCTV leaving the area at 2.05pm.

The trial heard that Ms Haider underwent life-saving surgery in Drogheda that day while Mr Arif died in hospital a day later. Both had been stabbed in the liver.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of nine men and three women.

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