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Daughter 'feared ex would kill her'

A woman who was stabbed to death in front of her two young children by her estranged husband was "unravelling in fear" at what he may do to her, her mother told an inquest.

Sharon De Souza was about to drive 24-year-old Cassandra Hasanovic to a women's refuge when Hajrudin Hasanovic appeared at the side of her car and hauled her daughter, who was known as Cassie, over one of the children and out of the vehicle, she said.

The jury sitting at Edes House in Chichester, West Sussex, heard that Hasanovic, 34, who was known as Harry, plunged a knife into Mrs Hasanovic outside of her mother's home in Bognor on July 29, 2008.

Serbian-born Hasanovic, who was facing deportation at the time of the killing and losing a custody battle for the children, was jailed for a minimum of 18 years for her murder at Lewes Crown Court in May 2009.

During the trial, Hasanovic was described as a "paranoid and jealous" partner who controlled his wife throughout their marriage and turned her from being bright and bubbly to a "petrified" young woman.

Mrs De Souza told the inquest that despite her daughter giving Sussex and Kent police forces information about where her estranged husband, who lived in Dover, was working and living, and telling them that he was repeatedly breaching a non-molestation order imposed by the courts in 2007, no-one seemed to be doing anything to catch him.

She said her daughter had repeatedly voiced her fears to the police and her family about the threats and abuse she had suffered at the hands of her husband after their marriage came to an end in May 2007, when he was arrested on suspicion of attacking her.

Mrs Hasanovic fled to Australia following the incident to stay with relatives as she feared Hasanovic would take the children but had to return to the UK to fight for custody.

Mrs De Souza told the inquest her daughter's mobile phone had a direct line to the police and that a panic button had been installed in her home.

She said Hasanovic would call her daughter "continually" and even made a friend request to her on Facebook shortly before he killed her.

She said her daughter made numerous statements to the police about Hasanovic's behaviour and that he had even threatened her on the court steps following a custody hearing, telling her: "You don't know who you are f****** with."

Mrs De Souza said: "On one occasion I answered her phone and he told me 'Me and my family are never going to give up on my children and you are going to find that out'.

She said her daughter was frightened to go out on her own and would only let one of her children go into day care because they had CCTV cameras and used codes to get into the building, so there was less of a risk of abduction.

She said her daughter felt like a "sitting duck" and that she could not go anywhere because Hasanovic had taken the children's passports.

Mrs De Souza continued: "She kept saying to me 'I know he's going to kill me mum'.

"She had been offered a refuge; although she wanted to be with me, she did not feel safe.

"His time with immigration was running out and she believed that was when he would do something because his situation was getting desperate.

"She was unravelling in fear and the refuge was offered."

Mrs De Souza told the inquest that she believed the police should have given them help to get to the refuge safely but that when they asked for help nothing was done.

The inquest heard that Mrs De Souza insisted to her daughter that the police take her to the refuge but she told her mother they would not.

Mrs De Souza told the jury that after her daughter had been stabbed she begged two police officers who arrived at the scene to help her.

She said: "People by then had come forward to try and help and I was fearful because my daughter was face down in a pool of blood, so I was frantically worried about her.

"I was worried he (Hasanovic) would come back and try and get her in the car with the kids.

"Two police officers did arrive and they didn't give her any assistance.

"I said, 'please can you help her?', and they said, 'she's part of a crime scene'."

She told the hearing that another police officer eventually arrived and started CPR on her daughter.

The inquest continues.


From Belfast Telegraph