A MAN who killed his wife by setting her on fire has been convicted of murder and jailed for a minimum of 25 years.
Muhammed Hammad, aged 30, set fire to Nazia Aktar after pouring white spirit on her during a row while decorating at their home in Fox Hollies Road in Acocks Green on April 25, 2015.
He then poured some white spirit on to himself, before setting himself on fire in an effort to cover his tracks – initially claiming the fire had been caused accidentally when a cigarette set alight some white spirit that had been spilt while decorating their bathroom.
Nazia, aged 31, who worked as a full-time carer, suffered 60 per cent burns to her face, ears, neck body, arm and leg following the fire.
She died of her injuries in hospital on June 12, 2015.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how the couple had lived together in a flat in Fox Hollies Road, after meeting in 2013 and marrying the year after.
In April last year, neighbours heard screams and found the couple staggering out of the flat having suffered severe burns.
Both Nazia and Hammad explained the injuries as a result of an accidental spillage of white liquid, which caught fire when a cigarette was dropped.
They were both rushed to hospital and placed into induced comas due to the severity of their injuries.
But fire investigators and medical experts began to question whether the extent of Nazia’s injuries were actually caused accidently.
While in hospital, Nazia also told family and health workers that Hammad has deliberately set fire to her.
She claimed Hammad was controlling – having only married her to stay in the country – and that he had set her alight after she had asked him to leave, before setting himself on fire to try and make it look like an accident.
Nazia took a turn for the worse in June and died after never regaining consciousness.
Hammad, who was in the country illegally, was arrested and charged with her murder in June 2015.
Detective Inspector Justin Spanner, who led the murder investigation, said: “This was an unusual investigation where the victim, Nazia Akhtar, awoke from a coma and was able to give us an account of the circumstances leading to her sustaining her injuries.
“Her account was recorded and played to the jury. They were able to hear it in her own words.
“She was unaware she would pass away as a result of the deep burn injuries.”
Det Insp Spanner said Hammad had tried to cover his tracks by claiming Nazia had set herself on fire and that he was trying to help put her out.
Hammad had also told Nazia ‘no one would believe her’ if she told them the truth about what happened.
DI Spanner added: “Our thoughts go out to Nazia’s family who have lost their loved one in such tragic circumstances.
“I hope they are able to find some closure in the sentence that the court has imposed on Muhammad Hammad.
“Domestic violence is a crime.”
West Midlands Police has officers specially trained to deal with domestic violence in its public protection.
Anyone suffering domestic abuse it urged to call 101.
Visit www.west-midlands.police.uk or at www.thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk for more information and advice.