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Man who shot pregnant ex-wife dead with crossbow is jailed for life

Man carried out 'cold-blooded execution' after abused wife remarried

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 29 November 2019 12:44 GMT
Crossbow killer who murdered pregnant ex-wife to die in jail

A man who shot his pregnant ex-wife in the stomach with a crossbow has been jailed for murder.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 33 years on Friday.

His victim, Sana Muhammad, died but her baby survived after being delivered by emergency Caesarean section.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC described the killing as a “brutal and evil attack”.

"You carefully planned this attack,” he told Unmathallegadoo. “You had two loaded crossbows and I'm entirely satisfied you intended an attack on Sana and then on [her husband] 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 Old Bailey heard that Unmathallegadoo had planned the murder for more than three years.

“It was a cold-blooded execution by a man who had a resolute desire for revenge and who had been consumed by hatred for a former wife who had left him for another man,” said Richard Horwell QC.

He and Ms Muhammad – then known as Devi Unmathallegadoo - had undergone an arranged marriage in Mauritius when he was 30 and she just 16.

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

She had told police Unmathallegadoo had stared at her as he sharpened knives in the garden but after a 2013 trial he was cleared of attacking her.

Following the 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.

The victim 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.

But on 12 November 2018, Unmathallegadoo armed himself with two crossbows and hid himself in a shed at the end of the home’s garden in Applegath Drive.

Ms Muhammad, 35, lived there with her husband Imtiaz and five children, and was eight months pregnant at the time.

Sana Muhammad was eight months pregnant when she was murdered (PA)

Unmathallegadoo was disturbed by Mr Muhammad, who had gone into the garden to store an empty box while his wife prepared food for a dinner party that evening.

The court heard Unmathallegadoo chased him into the house holding the two crossbows, and Mr Muhammad called for his wife to run as she fled up the stairs.

But Unmathallegadoo fired an arrow at her before she reached the landing, and the 18-inch shaft penetrated her stomach.

“When she got an arrow she just screamed. I was thinking, ‘What is happening?’ I was screaming for her,” Mr Muhammad told the court.

“Then from there, because he had a second crossbow on his shoulder, I was thinking he’s used one and now the second one might be for me.”

Unmathallegadoo was disarmed at the scene by his own son, who lived in the house, and arrested.

Ms Muhammad was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital, but catastrophic internal injuries caused her to suffer a heart attack.

An emergency caesarean was carried out to deliver the baby, who was initially not breathing but was revived.

Unmatahallegadoo did not answer any questions when he was interviewed by police.

But during the trial, he told the jury had been aiming the crossbow at the bannister and had not meant to kill his ex-wife.

One of the crossbows used by Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo (Metropolitan Police)

Giving evidence, he claimed the crossbow went off by accident and he bought the weapons to go hunting in Mauritius with his brother.

Unmathallegadoo told jurors he only wanted to confront Mr Muhammad about his concerns that his daughter was being brought up a Muslim.

But the prosecution argued that his ultimate plan had been to restrain the couple and their children and at least kill the two adults and the unborn child.

Analysis of Unmathallegadoo’s online purchases showed he purchased a crossbow in March 2018, at a total cost of more than £1,000.

He also ordered archery arrows, broadheads and bolts from a number of different internet suppliers, via eBay. In May 2018, Unmathallegadoo purchased a second crossbow.

Judge Lucraft said the crossbows and bolts acquired did not require a licence, adding: “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.”

A handwritten note found in a jacket belonging to Unmathallegadoo suggested he had conducted surveillance on the Applegarth Drive address.

In October 2018, Unmathallegadoo had asked his daughter, who lived at the home, whether the shed in the back garden was locked.

When detectives searched it, they discovered a selection of crossbow arrows, a black rucksack containing toiletries and personal items as well as a pair of scissors and roll of duct tape.

There was also a chart marking the dates and times of the movements of occupants of the house.

Det Sgt Amjad Sharif said he was “driven by feelings of bitterness and jealousy towards his ex-wife, who had remarried and started a new life”.

The victim’s husband, Mr Muhammad, paid tribute to her love for their children and said the whole family now “feels lost”.

“She was my soul mate, my best friend, my wife, my companion and my everything and I love her dearly,” he added.

Her mother, Ellemah Sutharamandoo, said her sadness was “overwhelming and constant”.

“I now feel alone – there are days I do not want to live,” she added. “I want to embrace her, to see her beautiful smile and I will never be able to. My life will never be the same.”

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