Getaway driver found guilty of 'honour killing'

Click to follow

A man who helped his cousin conduct the honour killing of a young relative on her wedding day was convicted yesterday of murder.

Tafarak Hussain was found guilty of murdering Sahjda Bibi, who died when she was stabbed 22 times at her home.

Miss Bibi, 21, was attacked by Tafarak's cousin Rafaqat Hussain, who disapproved of the marriage.

Tafarak, 26, from Birmingham, was described as "acting as Jeeves" to Rafaqat. He helped his cousin plan the killing, drove him from the murder scene and used his position as head of a taxi firm to arrange a car to take him to Heathrow airport.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court took less than eight hours to find Tafarak guilty of murder after an eight-day trial. Rafaqat, 38, a machine operator from Camberley, Surrey, pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier hearing.

After the trial, the victim's parents described the men as "cowardly", and expressed their grief at losing their daughter. "There is no justification for attacking a member of our family, a girl of 21 years old," they said in a statement.

"It was a cowardly act by Rafaqat and Tafarak on a defenceless and harmless young girl on her wedding day. We feel that they should spend the rest of their days behind bars so they cannot do this to anyone else and to serve as a warning to others who might think of committing such a crime."

Detective Inspector Adrian Atherley, of West Midlands Police, added: "Sahjda's death has been called an honour killing, but I can see no honour in killing another human being.

"In this case the victim was a relative of the killer and she seemed to have trusted him."

The court was told that Miss Bibi, a dressmaker, was preparing for her wedding in her bedroom in Birmingham on 11 January when she was attacked by Rafaqat with a kitchen knife. The final stages of the attack were witnessed by the bride's mother before Rafaqat fled in a BMW driven by Tafarak.

The jury heard that Rafaqat plotted the murder with Tafarak after learning of the wedding only a few days before the ceremony was due to be held. As part of the plan, the men arranged the purchase of a plane ticket to enable Rafaqat to flee to Pakistan.

The cousins, who both face mandatory life sentences, will be sentenced by Mr Justice Wakerley next week.