A young female student who refused to enter an arranged marriage was brutally murdered by her uncle with a metal spike in her chest in a suspected 'honour killing,' a court has heard.
Somaiya Begum was found dead with a metal spike through the right side of her chest, which prosecutors allege, the 20-year-old's uncle Mohammed Taroos Khan, used to kill her.
Begum Refused to Marry Cousin, Was Under Forced Marriage Protection Order
Begum had been living with her grandmother and another relative at the time of her death due to a court-mandated Forced Marriage Protection Order after attempts by her father to force her "by threat of violence" to marry her cousin from Pakistan.
Khan was also the subject of the restraining order and was prohibited from going to the address following a conviction of threatening behaviour towards his own daughter. Prosecutors allege Khan violated the restraining order, visited the three-bedroom property, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on June 25 last year where he killed Somaiya in a "traumatic" attack.
Khan Disposed Of Begum's Body Like 'Rubbish,'
Jurors at Bradford Crown Court were told Khan "bundled" her body up and made online searches for "large rubble bags" before disposing of her body "like rubbish." Somaiya's body was found on July 6 a mile away from her home "infested with maggots' and 'partially decomposed."
Khan was initially arrested following her disappearance, and after being charged, he asked police to explain how prison sentences for "manslaughter" and "murder" differed. He has since pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by disposing of her body and destroying her phone, found in a nearby smouldering bin.
Begum's Disappearance Coincided with Khan's Arrival
Mr Karl Pitter KC, prosecuting, said: "On Saturday 25th June 2022, at around 3.30 pm, Somaiya Begum sent final messages to her close companion and school friend. Not long after that, her telephone was to cease meaningful use." He said CCTV footage also captured two verbal altercations on Binnie Street on June 25.
"That coincided with the arrival of her uncle, the Defendant, Mohammed Taroos Khan at her home address in the minutes afterwards," Mr. Pitter continued. "The signs indicate that she had met her traumatic death following a violent attack in her home, the nature of which was demonstrated by a metal spike which had become embedded in her back."
Khan Seen on CCTV Footage Loading Heavy Item into His Car
Mr. Pitter told the court that on June 25, Khan visited the address three times during the afternoon in his Mitsubishi Space Wagon vehicle and had contacted Somaiya. The prosecutor said Khan got a set of keys cut for the home and went to the home about 3.50 pm, "minutes after the final messages were sent from Somaiya's telephone."
The heard that Khan was seen near to a container wearing gloves before he reversed his car close to the entrance of the container. Mr Pitter said Khan was seen on the footage driving his car before returning to lock the container door.
The court heard footage on Fitzwilliam Street captured Khan at around 4pm and he left at around 6.30pm, before being captured at Carter Gate Works before he returned to Fitzwilliam Street at around 6.50pm. Mr Pitter said footage captured him pulling up to a gap in an area close to wasteland.
He said: "On the footage he was seen to drag a large and apparently heavy item from the car and through that gap. That was obviously, the prosecution say, was Somaiya. He got into his vehicle and drove away." Khan was arrested the next day.
Khan Admits to Disposing Body but Maintains He Didn't Kill Somaiya
Somaiya's body was found rolled up in a rug at the industrial site several days later by police on July 6, with a post-mortem examination showing signs of "trauma and assault." Somaiya also had a metal spike of around 11cm in length embedded in the right side of her chest, puncturing her lung in such a way it was indicated it was done prior to her death.
"It may be that as part of it he advances issues in relation to the family's culture and religion which may have been the misguided justification to kill her," Mr Pitter said. "We suppose in the context of the inappropriately named 'honour killing'. Whatever his motive, because it was him, even if others, as he may seek to say, were involved, it was not honourable."
Khan's lawyer, in his defense, said "Mohammed Taroos Khan accepts that Somaiya Begum, his niece, was murdered but he did not murder her. He knew nothing about the death until after Somaiya had been killed." The lawyer added that his client had been "summoned" to Binnie Street "to dispose of her body."