Husband gets life for killing wife in arranged marriage

Amir Shazad was convinced he had found a contented young wife when he and his British-born cousin Nusrat Ali were introduced and married in rural Pakistan in September 1999.

But Ms Ali, a school laboratory technician and university undergraduate from Middlesbrough detested the arranged marriage and blamed her family for pushing her into it by "emotional blackmail".

She implored British immigration officials to block her new husband's entry to the UK and refused to acknowledge his existence when he finally arrived.

After four years of misery for both of them, Shazad stabbed Ms Ali to death with a 12-inch kitchen knife as she left home for her job at a local secondary school on 17 August last year.

Yesterday, the 30-year-old admitted the murder and received a statutory life sentence. Judge Peter Fox, at Middlesbrough Crown Court, set a minimum tariff of 10 and a half years but said he considered both individuals to have been victims. "I accept you were kept in ignorance of [Ms Ali's resistance to the marriage] until you arrived," Judge Fox told Shazad. "Then, you were caught in a cultural trap from which there was no prospect of release and in which you were throughout consistently humiliated."

Though Ms Ali returned to the UK immediately after the wedding, Shazad's visa application was delayed and he did not join her until January 2003. His marriage was never consummated. James Goss QC, for the prosecution, said Shazad, who had expected to live and sleep with his wife, slept alone in the front room of the home shared by his wife, her mother and her five sisters. He found work in a Middlesbrough cash-and-carry store while his wife pursued an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Teesside. Within eight months he had been moved into a house next door. On 15 August last year, he was excluded from a family event and confronted his mother-in-law, Nasreen Ali. He was told to wait a year, until she travelled to Pakistan to see his family.

Two days later, at 8.50am, as his 24-year-old wife left the house for Easington Community School, in Co Durham. He pulled her from a car then stabbed her six times in her front garden. Two local men tried to intervene but fled when they saw the knife. Shazad then tried to hang himself. Police arrived at 9.01am - in time to save him but too late for his wife.

In mitigation, Tim Roberts QC said Shazad's wife neither spoke to him nor gave him her mobile phone number.

"In his mother-in-law's home he always ate separately," said Mr Roberts. "The girls ate in another room around a table. He ate sitting on the floor alone in the back room. If there were visitors whilst he was there, the girls would ... remove evidence that he was in the house. They ... would then usher him out of the back door. If there was insufficient time to do that he was locked in a room. Eventually he [took to] locking himself in because that was more convenient. Nasreen Ali would explain away his presence by saying he was an asylum-seeker lodging with the family."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor