Four members of one family have been jailed for nearly 60 years after they murdered the pregnant wife of one of the group, holding her down and smothering her in a bid to drive out an evil spirit.
Naila Mumtaz, 21, died at the hands of her husband and three members of his family.
The killers included her husband, Mohammed Tauseef Mumtaz, his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, both 51, and his brother in law Hammad Hassan, Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported.
After a three-month trial a jury found that Ms Mumtaz had been deliberately smothered, prompting Justice Keith to hand down life terms for the killers.
The prosecution had been unable to determine definitively the motive for the murder.
The pair had been married for 14 months. The marriaged had been arranged and Ms Mumtaz was married with the first child.
The Daily Mail reported that Birmingham Crown Court was told the day before her death in July 2009, Mrs Mumtazhad sounded ‘stressed’ when she called her parents to tell them her husband – and others in their neighbourhood – had been suggesting she may have become pregnant during a solo trip to Pakistan.
The judge said a less unlikely explanation was that the group believed Ms Mumtaz was possessed by a mischievous spirit mentioned in the Koran and they were trying to drive it out.
Defence barristers argued the defendants were guilty of a desire to cause "really serious bodily injury", and not death.Ul-Haq and Aslam, who the judge said were ‘more likely to have instigated what was done to Naila’, were sentenced to a minimum term of 15 years each. Their son and Hassan, who is married to the couple’s daughter, were sentenced to a minimum of 14 years.
Detective Inspector Simon Astle of West Midlands Police said it was "tragic and deeply upsetting"."It is unthinkable that those who she was closest to would take her life in the belief she had been possessed by evil spirits."
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