A businessman is facing a life sentence for stabbing his sister to death in front of his two young daughters in a so-called honour killing.
Azhar Nazir, 30, and his cousin, 17, used four knives to cut Samaira Nazir’s throat and repeatedly stab her after she fell in love with an asylum-seeker from what they saw as an unsuitable caste.
Miss Nazir, 25, had rejected suitors lined up to meet her in Pakistan and had been summoned to the family home in Southall, Middlesex.
The father, also called Azhar, Nazir and the youth launched the attack and at one point dragged her by her hair back into the property.
Miss Nazir, a businesswoman described as “strong-willed”, was heard to shout at her mother, Irshad Begum: “You are not my mother any more.” She was then held down as a scarf was tied around her neck and her throat was cut in three places. Nazir’s daughters, aged 2 and 4, were screaming and were splattered with blood. Police fear that they were ordered to watch as a warning to them. Neighbours called the police after hearing the screaming.
Nazir was found guilty yesterday of murdering his sister; a day after his cousin, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted for his part in the murder. They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey in London next month.
The court was told that the 17-year-old believed that Miss Nazir had become a victim of black magic at the hands of Mr Mohammad, an Afghan asylum-seeker. Nazir denied murder but told police that his sister “had to be stopped”.
The father was also charged with the murder but fled to Pakistan, where he has gone into hiding. Charges against the mother were later dropped.
The court was told that Nazir and his father ran Rana Brothers, a successful grocery store on Southall Broadway. The son also owned a recruitment company, S & F Staffing, which supplied workers for the Hilton hotel chain and had made Miss Nazir a director.
She was articulate and well-educated and had studied travel and tourism at Thames University. She was described as the brightest in the family.
She clashed with her family when she told them that she wanted to marry Mr Mohammad, who become known to the family after he came to the country illegally.
After the couple fell in love,Mr Mohammad tried to ingratiate himself with the family by arranging to bring the 17-year-old cousin to Britain from Pakistan. Mr Mohammad and Miss Nazir kept their affair secret for years.
He told jurors: “We were as boyfriend and girlfriend for about five or six years. But we couldn’t tell her family because Samaira said her father was a very strict man who would not allow any female in his family to marry outside of his caste or tribe. We had discussed marriage. Samaira wanted to tell her family herself. Her father was very upset and said I was only after their money.”
When the couple announced their engagement, Mr Mohammad, who ran a stall selling phone cards, said the father went at him with a knife and threatened to kill him.
In April last year Miss Nazir was summoned to the home to be killed to protect the family’s honour. As she screamed for help one neighbour banged on the front door, but the father emerged claiming that his daughter was having a fit.
When police arrived they found a trail of blood from the front of the house to the back door and then to the hallway where Miss Nazir’s body was slumped in a pool of blood.
The amount of blood on the children suggested that they were only feet from the attack. A neighbour spotted Miss Nazir’s bloodstained arm emerge momentarily from the front door before she was dragged back inside and the door slammed shut.
She received 18 stab wounds and three cuts to her throat.