Thursday 5 December 2019

Man who killed heavily pregnant ex-wife with crossbow in 'evil' attack likely to die in jail, court hears

Devi Unmathallegadoo was fatally shot with a crossbow whilst heavily pregnant (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Devi Unmathallegadoo was fatally shot with a crossbow whilst heavily pregnant (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Emily Pennink

A CROSSBOW killer is likely to die in prison after being jailed for 33 years for shooting his heavily pregnant ex-wife in a "brutal and evil" revenge attack.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, burst into the home of eight months pregnant Sana Muhammad and fired an arrow into her stomach as she fled upstairs.

Mrs Muhammad, 35, formerly known as Devi Unmathallegadoo, suffered catastrophic internal injuries and died.

Her unborn son - her sixth child - was delivered by Caesarean section and miraculously survived.

A jury rejected the defendant's claim it was an accident and found him guilty of murder after four hours of deliberations last week.

On Friday, Judge Mark Lucraft QC sentenced him to life with a minimum term of 33 years.

He described the killing of Mrs Muhammad as a "brutal and evil attack", saying if it was not for the presence of her children he would have shot her new husband Imtiaz too.

He told the defendant: "You have carefully planned this attack. You had two loaded crossbows and I'm entirely satisfied you intended an attack on Sana and then on Imtiaz.

"One can only assume that you were jealous of their life together and the fact that they had formed a loving bond between themselves and with your children. The judge said the crossbows and bolts the defendant acquired do not require a licence and can be bought online."

He said: "As is shown by events that followed, they can be used to devastating effect to kill.

"Many I am sure will find the ease with which some items are available deeply concerning - it is for others to consider whether these items should be controlled and require a license for ownership."

Earlier, Mrs Muhammad's widower paid tribute to his outgoing and bubbly "soul mate".

Imtiaz Muhammad said: "She was very friendly, talkative and always made me laugh. She was my soul mate, my best friend, my wife, my companion and my everything and I love her dearly.

"Ram must have been very jealous of the life Sana and I had and that we were living a happy life."

He said his wife had been "scared" of the defendant, adding: "She would always say 'Ram does not forgive and forget, he likes to create trouble no matter if he loses everything'."

Mr Muhammad, who attended court, went on: "She was a very loving mother and we did everything together.

"Ram has finished everything. We all feel lost now. The kids are missing their mum too much."

He said their baby son was "struggling", saying: "When I see him I feel very sorry for him because he has no mother and he has never seen a mother's love and he never will."

He said his wife did not deserved what happened and the story the defendant told jurors to "save himself" was "all rubbish".

He said: "He came for Sana not me... His aim was only for Sana."

Her mother, Ellemah Sutharamandoo, said: "I always treated Ramanodge as my own son, I always thought of him and his wellbeing after the separation. It brings me so much pain to know that he could be capable of something so hateful and so calculated. I cannot forgive him."

The court heard how the victim was just 16 when she entered into an arranged marriage with the defendant, then aged 30, in Mauritius.

Their unhappy relationship ended in 2012 after an incident in which she jumped out of an upstairs window and broke her ankle.

After a trial in 2013, he was cleared of attacking her and acquitted on the judge's direction of a charge of attempted strangulation under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.

She successfully filed for an emergency non-molestation order which barred the defendant from coming within 100 metres of the family home in Ilford, east London.

Following her divorce, she married builder Imtiaz Muhammad and changed her name to Sana Muhammad. Meanwhile, the defendant lost his job as a site manager at Newham General Hospital and slept rough as he plotted revenge.

On the morning of November 12 2018, he took up position in the garden shed armed with two crossbows, bolts, a knife, duct tape, cable ties and a hammer.

He was disturbed by Mr Muhammad who had gone into the garden to store an empty box. The defendant ran inside the house and shot his ex-wife with an 18-inch arrow as she fled upstairs.

The defendant made no reaction as he was led away from the dock.

PA Media

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