A convicted paedophile and illegal immigrant who murdered his estranged wife after she refused to support his application to stay in the UK will serve a minimum of 18 years and eight months in prison.
Iranian-born Dana Abdullah used a kitchen knife to inflict 50 wounds in a “brutal and sustained attack” on mother-of-four Avan Najmadeen before covering her body in a white spirit on 1 October last year.
The defendant, who had the same immigration lawyer as his wife, left the 32-year-old to die at her home in Stoke-on-Trent.
The court heard she had asked the lawyer not to co-operate with his application to remain in the country.
In order to cover his tracks, Abdullah tried to create a fire or explosion in the kitchen and fled to Liverpool and then Glasgow by taxi.
He eventually handed himself into a police station but only to admit being a “failed asylum seeker”, hoping to be deported and avoid prosecution for his wife’s murder.
Stafford Crown Court heard Abdullah had threatened to kill Ms Najmadeen before, claiming she had “dishonoured” him after converting to Christianity.
Abdullah, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to murder in February.
Jailing the defendant for life, Judge Michael Chambers QC said: “This was, on any view, a planned and pre-meditated murder involving a brutal and sustained attack using a knife, knowing full well that it would deprive four children under the age of eight of their mother.
“It was motivated by you seeking retribution for her failure to support your immigration appeal against deportation as a failed asylum seeker. You entered the house and it is clear from the post-mortem and forensic evidence that you subjected her to a sustained and brutal attack.”
The judge added: “You left the premises but before doing so, took significant steps in order to conceal what you had done.”
Speaking of Abdullah’s previous conviction for a child sex offence, the judge said: “It does show that you are not someone of good character and, having been deported for that matter, you chose to come back into this country illegally and have committed this very serious crime.”
The 35-year-old claimed to have been tortured in Iraq after his deportation following the conviction for sexual assault on a girl under the age of 13 in 2013.
Psychiatric reports suggested Abdullah, who was given a 15-month sentence for the earlier offence, suffered from PTSD due to his treatment in Iraq.
Opening the facts of the case, prosecutor Andrew Smith QC said: “The prosecution case is that Dana Abdullah made a considered decision to murder his wife, in the context of the breakdown in their relationship and his refusal to support his visa application. He stabbed her to death and unsuccessfully tried to cover up that he killed her by trying to create a fire or explosion in the kitchen.”
Mr Smith then summarised a victim impact statement from Ms Najmadeem’s sister Hevi, saying her death had had a “profound emotional impact” on the family.
A short extract from the statement read: “When Dana killed my sister Avan, he killed all of us, my mother, my father and her children as well.”
Abdullah’s defence counsel, Charles Miskin QC, said the defendant had lived a transient, miserable and extremely difficult life and was very remorseful for what he had done.
In a statement released on behalf of Ms Najmadeen’s family after the hearing, they said: “We the family of Avan Najmadiein are pleased with Dana Abdullah’s guilty plea. For us no sentence would be long enough and will not bring Avan back to us. Her four boys miss her very much, all of our family do.