Berkshire

Jilted ex-boyfriend found guilty of Asha Muneer murder

Asha Muneer
Image caption Asha Muneer was stabbed in the head, face and neck

A jilted teenager has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend by stabbing her to death on a river towpath.

Gulamyr Akhter, 19, killed A-level student Asha Muneer, 18, as she walked home from work in Reading, Berkshire.

The part-time sales assistant was found with more than 30 stab wounds by the River Kennet in January.

Reading Crown Court heard Akhter, of Victoria Way, Reading, "could not tolerate her rejection of him".

Ms Muneer, who was described by her family as "loving" and "beautiful", was a student at the town's Highdown School.

As the verdict was read out, Miss Muneer's parents wept in the public gallery.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 20 years in jail, Judge Zoe Smith called it a "deliberate execution".

Bombarded with calls

"When you left home you planned carefully what you were going to do," she said.

"You took with you a large knife and a change of clothing, two phones so you could destroy one phone on which you contacted her."

The court heard Akhter had bombarded the teenager with more than 600 calls and texts in the two weeks before her death.

One read: "I wish you go through hell and you die."

Akhter also lied to police when he was arrested, claiming he did not have the 18-year-old's number on the mobile he gave them and had not contacted her for weeks.

Prosecuting, John Price QC said Akhter had arranged to be dropped off by friends near the Brunel Retail Park, where Miss Muneer worked at a Laura Ashley store.

Destroyed evidence

Image caption Akhter also set fire to evidence in a deserted field

He then followed her and attacked her.

Video footage revealed that, during the journey, she was joined by a man in dark clothes and a hooded top, carrying a rucksack.

The last sighting of Ms Muneer on CCTV footage was shortly before 1830 GMT where she was seen walking towards the underpass where her body was found nearly two hours later.

Akhter then arranged to be picked up from the retail park at about 1900 GMT.

He travelled with friends to a fuel station where he bought a petrol can before going to a deserted field, where he set fire to clothing, his rucksack and a mobile phone he had used to harass his victim.

Home Office pathologist Kenneth Shorrocks said Ms Muneer died as a result of multiple wounds to the neck.

'Pure evil'

Cuts to Ms Muneer's hand were consistent with defence injuries, he said.

Akhter denied killing her, telling the court he was "shocked and devastated" by her murder.

In a statement following the sentencing, Ms Muneer's family said: "We have been torn apart by the loss of Asha, who was a beautiful young lady who had so many dreams and hopes for her life.

"Now those dreams will never come true all because of one man's pure evil and jealousy eaten up with rage.

"The trial has been a terrible ordeal for us all but we are happy to see that justice has been done."

Det Supt Karen Trego, who led the Thames Valley Police investigation, said: "Akhter has shown no remorse for killing his former girlfriend and his denials of any involvement has forced Asha's family to endure a lengthy trial."

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