Asylum seeker Salah Nashia jailed for murdering ex-wife

An asylum seeker has been jailed for life for bludgeoning his ex-wife to death because she refused to back his application to stay in the UK.

Salah Nashia, 52, carried out a "prolonged and sustained" hammer attack on Ghada Habib at her west London flat in September 2010.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 19 years after being found guilty of murder.

Ms Habib, who was 5ft 2in, suffered 19 blows to her head during the attack.

Old Bailey jurors were told that, after the killing, Nashia searched her Perivale flat for money and stole a jewellery box which he used to try to seduce a woman.

Prosecutor Alex Lewis said: "Towards the end of 2010 he was running out of time, running out of options.

"Either he could persuade Ghada to support him and his application to remain or he would have to return to Iraq, and Ghada was the sticking point - she was refusing to help him."

'Prolonged attack'

The couple met through Nashia's brother in 2005, but the marriage was unsuccessful and Ms Habib, an artist, told the British authorities she had obtained a divorce.

Nashia successfully claimed asylum in the UK in 2008, and began visiting her, the court heard.

Nashia, from Ealing, west London, also claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress due to his time in the Iraqi army from 1978 to 1991, but prosecutors said there was no record of his military service.

Ms Lewis said: "We say that this is not someone who was killed by a single blow or as a result of a brief loss of temper or self-control, but rather someone who died during a prolonged and sustained attack."

Ms Habib, who had lived in the UK for 20 years, was a well-known artist in her native Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

She came to London in 1990 to have surgery to try to restore her hearing, but this was unsuccessful and she remained profoundly deaf.

Ms Habib decided to marry in 2005 because she felt vulnerable living alone with her disability.

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