Husband guilty of murdering 'too westernised' mother-of-three

Darlington and Stockton Times: MURDER VICTIM: Mother-of-three Rania Alayed, who moved from Syria to the North East to escape violence MURDER VICTIM: Mother-of-three Rania Alayed, who moved from Syria to the North East to escape violence

A MAN who claimed he killed his wife in self-defence after an evil spirit entered her has been found guilty of her murder.

Ahmed Al-Khatib had previously admitted dumping the body of Teesside mother-of-three Rania Alayed beside the A19, in North Yorkshire, last June, in what police have described as a pre-planned honour killing.

Manchester Crown Court heard the 25-year-old, who moved from Norton to Salford months earlier, had been killed for becoming "too westernised" and "establishing an independent life".

Prosecutors said Ms Alayed had endured years of domestic abuse after leaving the violence of Syria in search of a new life in the North East.

Al-Khatib, who admitted to being unhappy when his wife started to learn English at college, began wearing make-up and left him, killed her at his brother’s flat in Salford in front of their children.

The court heard he then attempted to convince her family and friends she was still alive by wearing her headscarf and asking a friend to take her phone to Turkey and send a message to her father.

Al-Hhatib, 35, described in court how he had put her body in a suitcase, driven with his brothers, Muhanned and Hussain, to a layby near Thirsk, before spending 90 minutes burying her in a shallow grave.

Police have spent months searching a 19-mile stretch of the A19 for Ms Alayed’s body without result, and have suggested it may have been moved after it was first dumped.

Muhaned Al-Khatib, 38, was found not guilty of the murder but, along with Al-Khatib, admitted perverting the course of justice by transporting and concealing the body of Ms Alayed.

A third brother, Hussain Al-Khatib, 34, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

All three will be sentenced later.

Her uncle, Ali Aydi, who visited the A19 search site in January, said: "He is a murderous monster, a wicked man as he committed the worst act that is condemned by society, by religion and by humanity.

"He claims he was not aware of his actions. He picks and chooses when he wants to be sane.”

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Reade said the honour killing had brought nothing but shame on Al-Khatib and his family.

He said: "Al -Khatib's murderous actions were motivated by his outrage and jealousy that Rania would attempt to take control of her own life and live a more westernised life."

He vowed to continue the search for Ms Alayed's body so "she can be given the dignified burial she deserves".

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