Manchester

Rania Alayed murder: Husband jailed for 'honour killing'

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Media captionRania's uncle described her husband as a "murderous monster"

A man has been jailed for life for the "pre-planned honour killing" of his wife, whose body has never been found.

Mother-of-three Rania Alayed, 25, from Manchester, went missing last June.

Ahmed Al-Khatib told Manchester Crown Court that he killed her in self-defence after an evil spirit entered her, but he denied murder.

Al Khatib, 35, of Gorton, was handed a minimum term of 20 years. His brothers Muhaned and Hussain were also jailed for helping to dispose of her body.

The prosecution said Ms Alayed had been killed for becoming "too westernised" and "establishing an independent life".

Mr Justice Leggatt, sentencing Ahmed, said Ms Alayed had suffered "years of abuse".

He said: "The contempt you showed for Rania in death matched the contempt of how you treated her in life."

Brothers jailed

Greater Manchester Police's Det Ch Insp Phil Reade said her death had been an "honour killing" and added that "the irony is that this horrific act of self-pity brought nothing but shame on him and his family".

Muhaned Al Khatib, 38, denied murder but, along with his brother, admitted perverting the course of justice by transporting and concealing Ms Alayed's body. He was given a three-year sentence.

He told police Ms Alayed had been buried at the side of a layby on the A19 in North Yorkshire.

Muhaned, of Arthur Millwood Court, Salford, was found not guilty of her murder.

A third brother, Hussain Al-Khatib, 34, of Knutsford Road, Gorton, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for four years.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption Brothers Ahmed, Muhaned and Hussain Al-Khatib were all jailed at Manchester Crown Court

During the trial at Manchester Crown Court, Ahmed Al-Khatib admitted he had been unhappy when his wife started college and began wearing make-up.

The jury heard Al-Khatib murdered Ms Alayed, who previously lived in Norton, Teesside, at his brother's flat in Salford.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption CCTV showed Ahmed Al-Khatib wearing a headscarf in an attempt to pass himself off as Ms Alayed

Al-Khatib claimed he saw his wife as an evil spirit and that as he pushed her away she hit her head against a mirror, knocking her unconscious and killing her.

The court heard he then began an elaborate deception to convince her family and friends she was still alive.

CCTV showed Al-Khatib wearing a headscarf in an attempt to pass himself off as Ms Alayed.

He then messaged and texted her friends and family, trying to convince them she was still alive.

'Sickening and chilling'

Mr Reade said Ms Alayed was "beginning to put an abusive and violent relationship behind her and had genuine cause to be optimistic for the future".

"But her husband snatched it all away in the cruellest and most despicable way possible."

He said Ms Alayed's murder was "both sickening and chilling in the extreme" and that Al-Khatib's claim that a spirit was about to attack him was "both insulting to Rania's memory and counter to all the evidence of a pre-planned honour killing".

"Make no mistake, this was an honour killing - Al-Khatib's murderous actions were motivated by his outrage and jealousy that Rania would attempt to take control of her own life and live a more westernised life."

He added that the force would "employ the most hi-tech methods" to continue the search for Ms Alayed's body so "she can be given the dignified burial she deserves".

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