Wednesday 21 February 2018

Shahzad Hussain gets life for murdering man he suspected of having an affair with his wife

Natasha Reid

A 31-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for life for murdering the man he suspected of having an affair with his wife.

Shahzad Hussain (31) of Woodland Avenue, Mosney, Co Meath was also sentenced to seven years for seriously injuring his wife and two years for assaulting her in Co Louth last year.

Hussain had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering his wife’s cousin and his own distant relative, Muhammad Arif (32), on January 7, 2011. He had also denied assault causing harm to Rashida Bibi Haider (now 41) and to intentionally or recklessly causing her serious harm.

Hussain stabbed both victims in their livers on January 6, 2011 at Mr Arif’s apartment in Fitzwilliam Court, Dyer Street, Drogheda.

Ms Haider underwent life-saving surgery that day, but Mr Arif, a father-of-three and a security guard, died in hospital the following day

The senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Patrick Marry, said yesterday that all three, who were originally from Pakistan, had lived together in Fitzwilliam Court.

However, difficulties arose in the arranged marriage of Ms Haider and the accused, after he began to suspect that she was having an affair with her cousin. Both husband and wife moved out separately in December 2010.

D Insp Marry told the sentencing hearing that Ms Haider returned to the apartment on the evening of January 5th.

Hussain arrived to the apartment the following day. The facilities manager let him in, recognising him as a tenant.

When he went inside he met his wife coming out of the bathroom. He had words with Mr Arif, who was in bed after his night shift, before moving to the kitchen where he hit his wife.

She called out. Mr Arif came in and Hussain picked up a knife and stabbed him.

He then stabbed his wife twice before putting the knife to her throat. He inflicted cuts on her neck and hands as she tried to pull the knife away.

A witness on the street heard Mr Arif shout: ‘He’s killing her’ or ‘He’s hurting her’. He then called the emergency services and the trial jury heard a recording of him say: ‘He’s attacking her’ before fading out into unconsciousness.

Hussain put the knife in a bin outside the apartment and called a number of people, but not the emergency services.

He disposed of his phone and sim card, but later handed himself in to gardai. He had no English, but held his hands together to suggest he be handcuffed.

He said that he found his wife naked in her cousin’s bedroom, with Mr Arif in his bed.

He said that Mr Arif provoked him by saying: ‘This is not Pakistan. It is Ireland. You can do what you want here’.

He said that he did not know how his wife got her injuries and suggested that she must have fallen on the knife.

A victim impact statement was read out on behalf of Mr Arif’s wife and three children in Pakistan. His wife said she wanted to leave the world when she heard of her husband’s death and that their nine-year-old daughter had fever for three months afterwards.

Mrs Arif said her husband used to send €1,000 to them every month and that their new financial situation meant their electricity had been cut off.

A statement was also read out on behalf of Ms Haider. She said she is currently unable to work due to her injuries and must undergo another surgery.

She said she was very upset in court when she had to pass her husband to reach the witness box. She said she was scared that he could still get her.

She said she was also angry to hear the lies he told about her. She now wishes that her family will believe her and not him.

“I lost my husband, family and friend and cousin, Arif,” she said.

She thanked the gardai, judge and jury for believing her.

Mr Justice Barry White imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder. On the other counts, he said he had regard to Hussain’s previous good character.

He said he accepted that the crime was not premeditated, but said it was clear there was an absence of remorse for his wife’s injuries.

He imposed a concurrent seven-year sentence for causing her serious harm and a concurrent two-year sentence for assault causing her harm.

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