Bangladeshi Mohammed Abdul Shakur, 46, allegedly killed 26-year-old Juli Begum (pictured) and children Anika and Thanha Khanum, aged five and six, on New Year’s Day 2007
A mother and her two young daughters were ‘smiling and happy’ before they were murdered by her estranged chef husband, a court has heard.
Bangladeshi Mohammed Abdul Shakur, 46, was accused of killing wife Juli Begum children Anika, five, and Thanha, six, at their home in East Ham, east London, on New Years’ Day 2007.
He then fled the country days later only to be extradited in April and forced to return to the UK for his trial at the Old Bailey.
The murder occurred after the couple’s dispute surrounding the status of his immigration status which had been an underlying ‘source of friction’ in their marriage. She feared he would leave her if he obtained leave to remain in the country.
Before they became estranged in 2001, he allegedly told her: ‘If you don’t correct my visa and you don’t make me legal to stay in this country then I will kill you and kill your whole family.’
He allegedly told her he wanted sons instead of daughters and told Ms Begum he only married her to live in London and send money to Bangladesh. He was paid in cash while working in a restaurant in Frimley, Surrey, and sent the money back to Bangladesh.
Prosecutor David Spens QC said Ms Begum ‘never had visitors’ and lived an insular ‘friendless’ life. She had split from the husband after he had beaten her.
Mum of four Mary Banweyana said Ms Begum visited her house twice and her daughter’s would play with hers.
Mother-of-four Mary Banweyana saw the children (Anika and Thanha Khanum, aged five and six, are pictured) and Ms Begum visit her home a couple of times. She said the family were ‘always smiling and happy’ – and had seen Ms Begum on December 28, just four days before they were murdered
Banweyana described her as ‘always smiling and happy’and would stop to talk to her, the court heard.
She said: ‘The last time I saw Juli’s children was when they finished school for the Christmas holidays. The children seemed fine and very happy.’
She last saw Ms Begum when she was washing her husband’s car, on December 28, and they would talk unlike Shakur who ‘never spoke’ or would say hello.
Mr Spens said during the trial on October 17: ‘The marriage between Ms Begum and the defendant was not a happy one.
‘It was beset by arguments about the defendant’s immigration status and his financial contribution towards the family outgoings.’
Shakur, who sat with an interpreter in the dock, has denied three counts of murder. But he He was seen on CCTV footage walking with Ms Begum and his daughters from and to the Nelson Street area on January 1 (pictured, the Old Bailey where he is on trial)
It was only after Ms Begum’s sister Sheli tried ringing the door and there was no answer that Banweyana that she knew something was wrong.
Police then found the bodies of Ms Begum and her children, with sheets draped over them.
Jurors heard Shakur had had sex with his wife one last time before suffocating her, then strangling Anika with a sock and beating Thanha to death.
He was seen on CCTV footage walking with Ms Begum and his daughters from and to the Nelson Street area on January 1.
The following day, Shakur went to the Bangladesh High Commission for an emergency passport and took a one-way flight to Bangladesh on January 5.
He used excuses about his mother being sick and father being ill and then dying.
Witness Mohammed Choudry, who worked at KMC Travel Agency in London at the time, said: ‘He said his mother was unwell so he was in a hurry.
‘It wasn’t unusual. We would see people, especially Bangladeshis, purchasing one-way tickets.’
There were no flights available that evening so Shakur booked an air India flight, the cheapest one available, for 9pm the next day. He paid £340.
Shakur has denied three counts of murder and his phone has been pinpointed to the vicinity of Heathrow Airport. The trial continues.