Man jailed for deliberately dousing wife in white spirit and setting her on fire after argument

Muhammed Hammad then set himself ablaze to try to cover it up

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The Independent Online

A man has been jailed after being convicted of deliberately setting his wife on fire, killing her.. 

Muhammed Hammad, 30, was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife Nazia Aktar at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday. 

Hammad attacked his wife by pouring white spirit on her after they had an argument while decorating the bathroom at their home in south Birmingham in April 2015. 

He then set himself ablaze in an attempt to cover it up.

Nazia Aktar told family and health workers in hospital that her husband had attacked her

Neighbours heard screaming and found the pair staggering out their flat having suffered serious burns. 

The couple both claimed the injuries were the result of an accidental spillage of the white spirit which caught fire when a cigarette was dropped. 

Both were rushed to hospital and placed in an induced coma. 

Nazia, 31, suffered 60 per cent burns to her face, ears, neck, body, arm and leg, and died in June.

Fire investigators and medical experts soon became suspicious about how Nazia’s extensive injuries were caused accidentally. 

In hospital, Nazia admitted to family and health workers that Hammad had deliberately set her on fire after the argument. 

She said Hammad was controlling and had only married her to stay in the country. 

She had asked him to leave on the day of the argument which led to him attacking her. 

Hammad, who was in the country illegally, was arrested and charged with her murder shortly after her death. 

Nazia’s sister-in-law, Sana Mohammad, paid tribute to her, describing her a “happy, bubbly, friendly person, who put her trust in everyone”.

She said: “She was very kind, sweet and loving, it’s such a shame she never met anyone who was like her.”

Detective Inspector Justin Spanner, who led the murder investigation, said: "This was an unusual investigation where the victim, Nazia Akhtar, awoke from a coma and was able to give us an account of the circumstances leading to her sustaining her injuries. Her account was recorded and played to the jury. They were able to hear it in her own words. 

"Muhammad Hammad, deliberately set fire to his wife. Then, to cover his tracks, he poured some white spirit on himself and set it alight. He told Nazia that no one would believe her if she told them what happened. He tried to maintain that Nazia had set herself on fire and he was merely trying to put her out”.  

"Domestic violence is a crime. We have specialist officers in our public protection unit who have the knowledge and tactics they need to protect people from harm and I would urge anyone suffering domestic abuse to call us on 101", he added.