Abusive husband who fled to Bangladesh after murdering his wife and daughters jailed for life

6 February 2020, 14:48

Mohammed Abdul Shakur spent years on the run after killing his wife and children
Mohammed Abdul Shakur spent years on the run after killing his wife and children. Picture: Met Police
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

An abusive husband who spent years on the run after murdering his wife and two young daughters has been jailed for life.

Mohammed Abdul Shakur, now 46, killed his "vulnerable" estranged wife Juli Begum, 26, and their daughters Anika and Thanha Khanum, aged five and six, more than a decade ago.

Shakur, a curry house chef, will serve a minimum term of 40 years for the murder committed on New Year's Day, 2007.

He evaded justice for years by catching the next available flight to Bangladesh, where he confessed his crimes to his sister-in-law, warning her: "If you tell the police, I will murder you and your children."

The 46-year-old then illegally moved to India, going off-grid for a number of years before his whereabouts came to light.

Shakur denied all three counts of murder but refused to give any evidence in his trial at the Old Bailey.

Shakur denied all three counts of murder
Shakur denied all three counts of murder. Picture: Met Police

It took the jury two days to find him guilty of all the charges.

Sentencing judge Richard Marks QC said: said: "This was a wicked, vicious and sustained attack on two little girls, and on your wife who at 4ft and 8in was a tiny woman.

"By contrast, at around 6ft tall and well built, you were no match for her whatsoever. It is difficult to imagine three more vulnerable and defenceless victims.

"You, to this day, have not shown one iota of remorse for what you did.

"The tenor of your defence is that these killings were not done by you - a defence the jury saw through."

Shakur's 40-year-jail term includes the six years, six months and six days he has already spent in custody in both India and the UK.

He showed little emotion upon receiving his sentence.

Ms Begum and her daughters were murdered in the family home on New Year's Day, 2007
Ms Begum and her daughters were murdered in the family home on New Year's Day, 2007. Picture: Met Police

On 10 January, 2007, police visited the family home in East Ham, east London, after Ms Begum's relatives expressed their concerns.

Juli's body was found under a bed cover with Anika laying across her and Thanha nearby.

Shakur had fled the country by the end of the week, telling those he knew that his father was ill. He was arrested in India in May 2013 and was extradited back to the UK six years later.

He was often violent towards his wife, following an arranged marriage when Ms Begum was 19. The court heard how he did not like his daughters because they were not boys.

The Indian restaurant worker was paid cash in hand when living above the curry house, sending money back to his family in Bangladesh while Ms Begum received child benefits.

The couple had rowed about Shakur's immigration status and the money he was putting towards running the household in the time leading up to the killings.

In a statement, Ms Begum's sister Sheli described how their mother, Karful Nessa, "would cry in the middle of the night" and was so depressed family members would have to sit with her.

Ms Begum said: "She (Ms Nessa) suffered from depression and it affected her health. She used to cry all the time, she told me all the time she couldn't concentrate and couldn't sleep.

"She said she could hear Thanha and Anika crying out to her."

She added: "It will be with us for the rest of our lives."

Speaking after the case, Detective Sergeant Amjad Sharif said: "Shakur's sentencing brings to a close what has been a protracted and traumatic time for Juli's family.

"We will likely never be able to understand what could have driven Shakur to snap and end the lives of his wife and two daughters so violently and callously.

"In the years since, Juli, Anika and Thanha's family have had to endure the most unimaginable torment.

"At times it must have seemed that there would never be justice ... Now at last Shakur will serve a substantial custodial sentence for the horrific crimes he committed."