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Chef found guilty of murdering wife and two children

Mohammed Abdul Shakur had been violent and threatened to kill his family before, the Old Bailey heard.

Juli Begum, 26, whose body was found with the bodies of her two daughters, in a bed in a house in Nelson Street, East Ham, in east London. (Met Police/PA)
Juli Begum, 26, whose body was found with the bodies of her two daughters, in a bed in a house in Nelson Street, East Ham, in east London. (Met Police/PA)

By Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey Correspondent

An abusive husband has been found guilty of murdering his estranged wife and their two young daughters.

Chef Mohammed Abdul Shakur, 46, had been violent towards his 26-year-old wife Juli Begum and made threats to kill the family before, the Old Bailey was told.

The couple had rowed over his immigration status and financial contribution to the household, jurors were told.

On New Year’s Day 2007, Shakur killed Ms Begum and daughters Anika and Thanha Khanum, aged five and six.

Days later, he fled to his home country of Bangladesh to evade justice, the court heard.

While there, he told his sister-in-law: “Don’t tell the police I murdered your sister.

“If you tell the police I will murder you and your children.”

Ms Begum’s other sister raised the alarm and police went to the family home in East Ham, east London, on January 10 2007.

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Sisters Thanha Khanum (rear) and Anika Khanum were found dead beside their mother Juli Begum (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The body of 4ft 8in Ms Begum was discovered beneath a bedcover with Anika laid across her and Thanha nearby.

Anika had been strangled with a white sock after being “stunned” by a punch or slap to the face.

Her older sister suffered severe blows to the face that fractured her skull and caused her to bleed out on the carpet within half an hour.

Their mother was believed to have been smothered with a soft pillow or cushion.

Officers found little cash in the house and Ms Begum’s wedding jewellery was missing.

Shakur, who had been in debt, was traced on CCTV walking with Ms Begum and his daughters from and to Nelson Street on January 1.

After 12 years on the run,  he was extradited from India to face trial for the murders at the Old Bailey.

The court heard how the couple had an arranged marriage in Bangladesh when Ms Begum was 19.

After Shakur moved to London on a spousal visa, he became violent towards her and they became estranged.

In June 2001, Shakur had grabbed Ms Begum’s neck while she was seven months’ pregnant and threatened to kill her, put chilli in her eyes and kill her family, the court heard.

Ms Begum told her sister the defendant did not like their children because they were girls and he wanted boys but she loved them very much.

Jurors were not told of Ms Begum’s further claim that he had raped her three or four times around the end of 2000.

While working in an Indian restaurant in Frimley, Surrey, Shakur was paid cash in hand and was allowed to live above his work, jurors heard.

He sent money to his family in Bangladesh while Ms Begum received child benefits, the court heard.

Shakur denied three counts of murder but declined to give evidence in his trial.

A jury deliberated for two days to find him guilty of all the charges.

Judge Richard Marks QC remanded the defendant into custody and adjourned sentencing until Friday morning.

He thanked the jury for their care and attention on what he said was a “hugely distressing case”.

PA

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