‘Obsessed’ man ‘killed woman with face mask and then stuffed her in suitcase’

  • london
  • June 6, 2023
  • Comments Off on ‘Obsessed’ man ‘killed woman with face mask and then stuffed her in suitcase’
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A university student was suffocated with a Covid facemask by an ‘obsessed’ man who followed her to the UK from Pakistan, the Old Bailey has heard.

Hina Bashir, 21, vanished after visiting the home of warehouse worker Muhammad Arslan, 27, in Ilford, east London, on July 11 last year.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson KC told jurors she ‘never left that house alive’.

He said: ‘The next morning, [Arslan] set off from his house, dragging behind him a suitcase containing Hina Bashir’s dead body.’

The court heard he asked a flatmate who worked as a taxi driver to take him to an industrial estate by the M25 saying he had to ‘drop something off for a friend’.

After Ms Bashir’s worried friends and family alerted police, the suitcase was found there in some undergrowth and opened, revealing her body squeezed inside.

Mr Patterson told jurors: ‘The pathologist found that a facemask had been pushed inside her mouth. It was found there balled up.

‘As for the cause of her death, Hina Bashir had been killed through asphyxia. The facemask that was forced into her mouth had stopped her from breathing.’

Arslan has pleaded guilty to her manslaughter but he denies murder and perverting the course of justice by concealing her body.

He and Ms Bashir had grown up in the same village in Pakistan and became close while Ms Bashir was still a teenager.

The defendant followed Ms Bashir months after she came to the UK to study business management at Coventry University’s London campus in November 2021.

Mr Patterson said: ‘The defendant was later to insist to the police that there was no relationship between the two of them, however when the police translated the materials found on his phone they found that he had been repeatedly in contact with her, declaring his love for Hina Bashir.’

He had spoken about wanting her to be his wife and having a family with her, it was claimed.

When other messages suggested she was engaged to another man, Arslan reacted to the information with ‘shock’ and sent texts to suggest that he thought she had ‘cheated’ on him, a jury was told.

In more recent messages from 2021, Arslan appeared to be trying to contact Ms Bashir by posing as a woman, the prosecution claimed.

Mr Patterson said: ‘The police also found on his phone a very large number of photographs of Hina Bashir, some of them having been photoshopped or altered using software or apps.

‘They found pictures of her on which love hearts had been added and they found collages that had been created of her image. The evidence suggests that he was obsessed with her.’

Jurors were told investigators found a ‘wealth of evidence’ against Arslan, including victim’s blood being found on his bed and bedclothes.

On top of this, the court heard how matching facemasks were recovered from Arslan’s house while telephone evidence showed the defendant had Ms Bashir’s phone and was looking at her messages and photographs in the hours after her final visit.

The taxi driver confirmed he drove Arslan with his heavy suitcase to the industrial estate the next morning, the court was told.

CCTV footage captured Arslan leaving his house with the suitcase and then later dragging it along the lane to where it was eventually discovered, Mr Patterson said.

In addition, Arslan’s DNA was identified on the suitcase handle and soil from the deposition site was found on his shoes.

Referring to his earlier guilty plea, Mr Patterson said: ‘All the evidence proved what the defendant has finally accepted today – that he was responsible for the killing.’

The trial continues.

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