News, Culture & Society

Britain’s most notorious honour killing re-told in show

The tragic story of Britain’s most notorious honour killing has been re-told for a heartbreaking documentary.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was brutally murdered on the orders of her father and uncle, at her home in Mitcham, south London, in 2005.

She ‘dishonoured’ her father after leaving an abusive marriage and falling in love with Rahmat Sulemani, another man from a different Kurdish clan. 

Rahmat Sulemani

Banaz Mahmod (left), 20, was murdered after being spotted kissing her boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani (right) in Morden, south London, in 2005

Mr Sulemani never recovered from the death of his beloved girlfriend and committed suicide in 2016, after reportedly telling police there was ‘no life’ for him.

Crime author Mark Billingham, who wrote his novel ‘Love Like Blood’ on the killing, spoke to a TV crew for a new CBS documentary on the murder, called Written in Blood.

Ms Mahmod was killed after she was spotted with her lover during a secret meeting not far from her home, in Morden, south London.

Mr Billingham told the Mirror: ‘It is desperately sad. You go back to the two of them meeting outside that tube station, having that kiss, and 10 years later they are both dead.’

Ms Mahmod’s family arranged to have her killed after becoming enraged by her decision to leave her ex-husband.

She had met him only three times before her wedding day, once on her father’s allotment.

The teenage bride, who was taken to live in the West Midlands, later told local police in September 2005, that she had been raped at least six times and routinely beaten by her spouse.

Mahmod Mahmod

Ari Mahmod

Mahmod Mahmod and his brother Ari, were jailed for life in 2007 for their role in Banaz’s brutal murder, two years earlier

In one assault, she claimed, one of her teeth was almost knocked out because she called him by his first name in public.

She returned home to her family in Mitcham, a decision her father felt brought dishonour to his name. 

However, while she infuriated her relatives – she found solace in the arms of family friend Mr Sulemani and they soon fell in love.

Ms Mahmod was besotted with her boyfriend, 28, who she called her ‘prince’, and the pair exchanged texts endless loving text messages. 

But her father Mahmod and uncle Ari would not allow the relationship, and threatened the couple with death if they carried on seeing each other.

Mr Sulemani was a witness at Ms Mahmod’s murder trial and mobile footage he took of her, while she was lying covered in blood in hospital, in an apparent earlier attempt to kill her, was shown to the jury.

During a brutal attack, Ms Mahmod's father, uncle and a group of their friends, garroted her with a bootlace, stuffed her body in this suitcase and buried her under a freezer

During a brutal attack, Ms Mahmod’s father, uncle and a group of their friends, garroted her with a bootlace, stuffed her body in this suitcase and buried her under a freezer

The lovers pretended they had parted after the shocking incident, but they continued to meet in secret. 

But Mr Billingham said nothing would stop the couple being together. 

He said: ‘They worshipped one another and they tried to keep apart.

‘They knew the trouble they were going to get in but they couldn’t be without one another so they would meet secretly.’

However, tragically, the pair were not as covert as they had hoped. 

After a spy of her father tipped him off about the couple’s meeting, he held a ‘council of war’ and hatched the plan to kill his daughter, with his brother and friends.

 Ms Mahmod was garroted with a bootlace, before her body was stuffed in a suitcase and buried her under a freezer.

Her father and brother were jailed for life in 2007, after being found guilty for their part.

Three years later, Omar Hussain and Mohamad Saleh Ali, who carried out the killing, were extradited from Iraq and given life sentences while a third man, Mohamad Hama, admitted murder.