Jury hears taped plea: 'Don't kill me, Daddy'

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A recording of a child pleading "Don't kill me, Daddy" moments before a father allegedly stabbed to death his son, daughter and former wife was played to a jury yesterday.

A recording of a child pleading "Don't kill me, Daddy" moments before a father allegedly stabbed to death his son, daughter and former wife was played to a jury yesterday.

The desperate cry for help was recorded by a telephone operator who answered the child's 999 call.

Zainulabedin Zaidi, 34, is accused of murdering his former wife, Shazia, their daughter Saba, seven, and son Zeeshan, six, at their home in Bracknell, Berkshire, in March. The alleged attack took place shortly after Mr Zaidi arrived at his estranged family's home to pick up the children on a weekly contact visit.

The jurors at Reading Crown Court were played a tape recording of a terrified child calling the emergency services. In between the routine questions being asked by the operator, the jury heard a young voice saying: "Hello, can I have the police please? ... Quickly, because my dad, erm, is getting my mum and stabbing and killing me."

Then the caller, who again asked the operator to hurry, was told: "Hello, you're through to the emergency services. Is anyone there?" Amid the sound of screaming in the background, a child was heard saying: "Don't kill me, Daddy."

Adrian Redgrave, for the prosecution, said Mr Zaidi, who is a strict Muslim, attacked his family during a visit to his 27-year-old wife, who was in the process of divorcing him in 1998, to collect their children at Great Hollands, Bracknell, at 4pm on 17 March.

The prosecution said Mr Zaidi was angry and jealous because his former wife had secretly remarried. Mr Redgrave told the court: "Once inside, [Mr Zaidi] went for her with a knife. She did her best to defend herself, as witness deep cuts to both of her hands and blood spattered about the living room.

"But she stood no real chance. He stabbed her in the face, in the chest and several times in the neck. Appalling as it is, it's a fact, we say, that the two children saw that happen."

After Mr Zaid bolted the front door to prevent his children escaping, he then made his way upstairs to the main bedroom to attack them. It was from that room that the 999 call had been made, the jury was told.

Mr Redgrave continued: "He killed those two children in cold blood. Both died from deep stab wounds to the neck. Their bodies were found lying a few feet from each other."

After the killings, Mr Zaidi dumped the knife in a bowl under the sink and destroyed his clothes some time later, Mr Redgrave said. Both of Mr Zaidi's shoes had subsequently been found to be coated with blood, including that of his former wife.

Mrs Zaidi left her husband three years ago after an unhappy nine-year marriage, which had been arranged by their relatives. She moved to Bracknell with her children and remarried, but she had tried to keep her second marriage secret from her ex-husband, the court was told.

Mr Zaidi, of Slough, Berkshire, denies three charges of murder. The trial continues.