Glamour loving Asian woman done to death
Zaheer Ahmed was convicted last week of strangling his wife. Their marriage was in trouble as her in-laws were opposed to her western lifestyle.india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 20:06 IST
The clash of cultures between those who come to Britain after marrying someone brought up here still leads to tragedies, despite the spread of western lifestyle in the sub-continent.
The cases are fewer now but still alarmingly frequent specially in families from Pakistan and Punjab in India. It also happens in families that continue to expect their second and third generation to adopt traditional values back home.
One Zaheer Ahmed, 28, was convicted last week of strangling his wife Adeeba, 27, and dumping her body in the River Thames in a suitcase in the hope it would be swept away. Among the clues that led to his conviction was the discovery of two blank Valentine's Day cards. It was said the wife loved western lifestyle.
At last year's Valentine Day he had walked into a police station and reported his wife as missing. Ahmed, who worked at Heathrow airport, told police he had last seen the 27-year-old when he dropped her off at a hairdressing salon in Hounslow.
The case was originally dealt with as a missing persons inquiry. But two days later her body was found in a suitcase that washed up on the banks of the River Thames at Barnes, southwest London.
Thus began a murder hunt.
Two Valentine's cards bought by Mrs Ahmed to give to her husband were found by police at their home. Both were blank. The prosecution argued this was significant and suggested she had not filled them in because she was killed the night before Valentine's Day.
Ahmed, a customer services assistant, and his wife, an airport check-in assistant, had appeared a devoted couple. But the prosecution pointed out that beneath the veneer of love there were strains within the marriage.
It said Mrs Ahmed had had trouble with her in-laws as they did not think she was good enough for their son.
On interrogation by detectives, Ahmed said he had given his wife a lift into Hounslow on Valentine's Day so she could have her hair done before they went out for a romantic meal in the evening.
Checks at the town's 31 hairdressers found no record of an appointment for Mrs Ahmed and there was no CCTV footage of her husband's car in Hounslow.
The clinching evidence was the finding of his DNA beneath his wife's fingernails and that he had scratches on his neck. They had had been caused in Mrs Ahmed's "desperate" attempt to stop her husband killing her.
Forensic scientists had found 21 fibres on the outside of the suitcase which matched carpet and bedding at the couple's home.
The prosecution said Mrs Ahmed was killed at home and put into the suitcase by the defendant. The reason for the murder was said to be the family dislike of Adeeba's love for western lifestyle.
She was too glamorous for their traditional values.