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Tanveer Iqbal murder: Lover 'used birthday cake to lure married man to his death'

Published 05/08/2016

Tanveer Iqbal was strangled to death, his remains found in a cardboard box for a television
Tanveer Iqbal was strangled to death, his remains found in a cardboard box for a television

A spurned lover murdered a married father after luring him with the promise of a birthday cake before stuffing the body into the boot of his car, a court heard.

Tanveer Iqbal had been strangled to death with his remains found by a police officer crammed into a cardboard box for a widescreen television.

The box had been wrapped in blue nylon rope and silver gaffer tape.

His mistress Zatoon Bibi, 37, and her husband Gul Nawaz, 44, both deny murdering the father-of-two at her home in Bridgeburn Road, Birmingham, on January 31.

At the start of their trial, jurors heard Mr Iqbal and Bibi had an "unconventional and complicated domestic relationship" lasting several years.

Both their spouses were "fully aware" of the relationship and Bibi and Mr Iqbal's wife had even met and chatted as "sisters" by text.

But, opening the Crown's case at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, prosecution QC Sally Howes said: "Even the most accommodating of arrangements will have its shelf life and the veneer began to crack under the almost inevitable strain."

In August last year, Mr Iqbal had banned the pair from contacting one another but he got angry after discovering in January they had continued to chat in secret.

The Crown's barrister added: "It is clear that in the period leading up to January 31, Zatoon Bibi is stirring up trouble between Mr Iqbal and his wife Nasreen Bibi.

"At one stage Zatoon Bibi sent a video message to Nasreen of a sexual nature, involving Mr Iqbal.

"If this behaviour was meant to cause a rift between Tanveer and his wife, then Zatoon Bibi's plan backfired."

She said that as a result of that message Mr Iqbal told his mistress their relationship was over, and instead began looking to the future with his wife.

Mr Iqbal, in a series of messages to his wife, called Zatoon Bibi "a snake" and "an evil bitch", jurors heard.

He told his spouse: "She played a dirty game and made you and me hate each other - lol, it didn't work."

But Ms Howes alleged that Bibi then feigned an attempted reconciliation with Mr Iqbal sending him a series of "apologetic, contrite" texts speaking of how "ashamed she was at her behaviour".

In one message she allegedly told her lover: "I didn't mean to hurt you and your family at all, and I hope all your family can forgive me for the stress I caused. I'm sorry for everything."

Then, in what the prosecution has said was a lure to get Mr Iqbal to her house, she claimed to have made the 33-year-old - who had celebrated his birthday the previous day - a cake to mark the event.

Hours before the killing, she texted him to say: "Hope you like it."

Ms Howes told jurors that CCTV and mobile phone analysis allegedly linked Bibi and Nawaz to the killing, and the subsequent efforts to move and then abandon the victim's remains.

Footage is to be played to the jury which is said by the prosecution to show Nawaz buying nylon rope, gaffer tape and two pairs of non-slip gloves at a Poundland store in Oldbury Green retail park in the West Midlands just after 12pm on the day of the murder.

Ms Howes alleged that the CCTV also shows Mr Iqbal parking his Renault Clio car outside Bibi's home later that day at 6.27pm and, an hour later a woman said to be Bibi reversing the victim's car with the boot facing her house.

Figures which are said by the Crown to be Bibi and accomplice Nawaz, of Roway Lane, Oldbury, West Midlands, are then seen on camera loading the boot of the car, and taking two attempts to "slam" it shut.

At 8.59pm, footage allegedly shows Bibi pulling up in Portland Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Ms Howes added: "It is the Crown's case this is Zatoon Bibi abandoning the Renault Clio with Tanveer Iqbal's body inside the boot."

The remains of Mr Iqbal, who ran a family music store business, were only then discovered on February 1 after a chance sighting of his parked car by a friend.

Ms Howes said that when a police officer opened the boot "he could tell by the shape (of the box) it did not contain a television".

A post mortem examination by a Home Office pathologist concluded the victim died from injuries consistent with a ligature compression of the neck, including fractures of the thyroid cartilage.

Ms Howes said the pathologist's opinion suggested the blue nylon rope used to wrap the cardboard box "was of the size and appearance" to cause the marks around the victim's throat.

Jurors were also told there was a one in a billion chance that DNA allegedly linking Nawaz to the gaffer tape used to wrap the box did not belong to the co-defendant.

The victim also had numerous areas of bruising to his body, shoulders, arms and legs consistent with what Ms Howes called "a struggle" before his death.

Ms Howes said: "Mr Iqbal had been strangled to death and his body concealed in a large cardboard box, secured with silver gaffer tape and blue nylon rope."

A teenage boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also denies murder and a teenage girl has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

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