AN UNCLE has been found guilty of murdering his niece with a metal spike in an "honour killing" after she refused to take part in a forced marriage.
Biomedical student Somaiya Begum, 20, was found dead just over a mile from her home in Bradford, West Yorkshire, last July after a major week-long police search.
She was discovered with an 11cm-long 'Bradawl' tool – a sharpened metal woodwork implement – stuck in the right side of her chest on a light industrial estate.
Her uncle, Mohammed Taroos Khan, 52, denied murder but was todayfound guilty after a trial at Bradford Crown Court. He will be sentenced tomorrow.
Somaiya had been living with her grandmother and another uncle at the time of her death due to a court-mandated Forced Marriage Protection Order, the court heard.
Prosecutors said Khan had cut a set of keys to the three-bedroom house on June 25 last year before killing Somaiya in a "traumatic" attack.
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Jurors were told Khan then "bundled" her body up and made online searches for "rubble bags", before disposing of her body "like rubbish" on wasteland.
He had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by disposing of her body and destroying her phone, found in a nearby smouldering bin.
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The court heard Somaiya had been offered up for an arranged marriage at 16 by her dad, Yaseen Khan, who wanted her to marry her first cousin in Pakistan.
And he was left 'humiliated and incandescent with rage' when she refused the proposal and later told the police of his plans, her aunt Ishrath said in evidence.
Both Yaseen and his brother Mohammed Khan were prohibited from going to the address where she was living as they held "similar" hard-line attitudes, the court heard.
Mr Karl Pitter KC, prosecuting, said Khan visited the home three times on June 25 last year in his Mitsubishi Space Wagon vehicle and had contacted Somaiya by phone.
Khan had cut a key for property – worth roughly £110,000 – before he turned up at the address at about 3.50 pm, the jury was told.
Mr Pitter said: "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.
"That coincided with the arrival of her uncle, the Defendant, Mohammed Taroos Khan at her home address in the minutes afterwards.
"Whilst the prosecution cannot say precisely when Somaiya was killed, you can conclude that something significant had happened around or shortly after that point because there was no apparent further communication between Somaiya and anyone else after that time.
Mr Pitter said Khan had then gone to Carter Gate Works industrial yard where he had living quarters, before returning to Binnie Street at 5.29 pm.
And during the intervening period, the prosecutor told the court Khan had made searches online for "large, one tonne capacity, rubble bags including at the B&Q store."
He said: "The CCTV footage showed him opening a door to a container. He can be seen to be wearing gloves at the time.
"He then reversed his car up to the container entrance, however, the door was positioned in such a way as to obscure what he was doing from the CCTV camera."
Mr Pitter said Khan was discovered by Somaiya's uncle, Dawood, at the property at around 6.30 pm after he walked through the home's "normally locked front door".
And told jurors that it was during this period when Khan was making "his plans to finally dispose of her body".
Somaiya's remains were found on the industrial site several days later by police on July 6, with a postmortem examination showing signs of "trauma and assault."
Mr Pitter said: "There was some evidence of potential damage to the structure of her neck.
"In addition, a metal spike of about 11 cm in length, was found embedded in the right side of her chest puncturing her lung in such a way that it indicated that it was caused prior to her death."
Khan's defence counsel, Mr Zafar Ali, described how in the Pathan community, which Somaiya belonged, "blood feuds" could last generations.
And he suggested her "humiliated" father Yaseen had a "motive" to kill her after she'd refused to participate in the marriage he'd arranged for her with her cousin years earlier.
He also told the court that Yaseen had taken a "one-way" ticket to Pakistan not long before the trial commenced without giving his family a reason.
But the jury decided on the strength of the evidence, that Mohammed Khan was guilty of Somaiya's murder – following his initial arrest on July 6 last year.
Speaking about Somaiya was slaying, Mr Pitter suggested that her uncle may have murdered her in an "honour killing".
He said: "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.
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"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.
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