Delivery driver murdered wife before setting family home ablaze in bid to frame son for 'Netflix-inspired' murder

12 October 2023, 21:32 | Updated: 12 October 2023, 21:33

A delivery driver has been found guilty of murdering his wife
A delivery driver has been found guilty of murdering his wife. Picture: Google

By Danielle DeWolfe

A delivery driver has been found guilty of murdering his wife and setting fire to the family home in an attempt to frame their teenage son for the killing.

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Amidu Koroma, 48, denied murdering community nurse Mariam Kamara, 46, at the family's Brixton home on January 24 last year.

The Old Bailey heard how Koroma instead attempted to pin the crimes on his 19-year-old son, Ishmael, claiming he was unstable and had killed his mother while re-enacting a scene from the Netflix thriller, You.

Emergency services were called to the property on Railton Road at 4.12am after Ishmael called phoned for help.

Jurors heard how Koroma's "toxic" relationship with Ms Kamara had led to fears he was going to kill her shortly before the blaze.

The prosecution described how the couple's relationship had all but ended prior to her murder, with Koroma leaving the family home to live with another woman several times only to return pleading for forgiveness.

There were frequent rows over money and Ms Kamara only stayed for the sake of her son, who was about to go to university, the court was told.

There were frequent rows over money and Ms Kamara only stayed for the sake of her son, who was about to go to university, the court was told.
There were frequent rows over money and Ms Kamara only stayed for the sake of her son, who was about to go to university, the court was told. Picture: LBC / Alamy

Koroma, of Brixton, South London, was found guilty of her murder following a trial at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson KC had told how a fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom of the family home, with the defendant calmly telling emergency workers that his wife was trapped inside.

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Ms Kamara's badly burnt body was later discovered lying on her bed, with investigators noting the distinctive smell of accelerant.

The court heard how the victim's blood was identified on bannisters near the bottom of the stairs, with a jerry can and funnel discovered in a downstairs room.

A post-mortem examination concluded Ms Kamara had died from stab wounds to the neck and chest before the fire started.

Despite denying going into the blazing bedroom, Kamara sustained a burn to his foot - an injury picked up from a close proximity to the flames.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: "This defendant denies that he is responsible for the murder but the background evidence and the scientific evidence all point to his sole involvement in Mariam's death.

"Whereas the defendant had a burn to his foot, singed hairs in his beard, flash burning to his jogging bottoms and sweatshirt, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that Ishmael did anything other than sleep in his bedroom that night until his father woke him up to get out of the house."

An analysis of his clothes later revealed heat damage, with Ms Kamara's blood discovered on a kitchen knife at the property.

There were frequent rows over money and Ms Kamara only stayed for the sake of her son, who was about to go to university, the court was told.
There were frequent rows over money and Ms Kamara only stayed for the sake of her son, who was about to go to university, the court was told. Picture: LBC / Google

Ms Johnson said there were only two possible candidates who could have been responsible for Ms Kamara's death as there was no evidence anyone had forced entry to the home.

The court heard how Koroma's story had changed multiple times during police interview.

Koroma first saying he had been asleep on the sofa and woken by a smoke alarm, before running upstairs and noticed "black smoke everywhere".

He claimed he yelled at Ms Kamara to get out but did not try to go inside her bedroom due to the "big flame".

However, during trial he claimed son Ishmael had woken him up downstairs and he had wanted to protect him.

Accountancy student Ishmael denied being unstable and killing his mother after having a bad parents' evening.

Ms Johnson said: "Unbeknown to her son, Mariam had set up some very generous life insurance policies for his benefit.

"Mariam was known as a very kind and charitable woman who was always looking out for others in need."

Ms Kamara had been planning a trip to Sierra Leone where she was building a house and had formed a close relationship with another man.

She told a friend she feared Koroma would kill her and he had refused to leave the house.

Ms Johnson told jurors: "The scientific evidence, the evidence of the poor state of the marriage, the defendant's threats to kill Mariam and the defendant's inconsistent accounts of his behaviour that night all point conclusively to the defendant stabbing his wife to death."

Koroma will be sentenced on Monday.

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