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P
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December 12, 2019

Man jailed for 2001 ‘honour killing’ in Luton

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P
Pa
December 12, 2019

LONDON: A man who fled to the United States after committing a so-called “honour killing” has been sentenced to life in prison.

Mohammed Tabraz, 39, repeatedly hit Soheil Mumtaz over the head with a hammer in the street near Mumtaz’s home in Luton on April 4, 2001. Mumtaz, 24, suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital a few days later.

Bedfordshire Police said Tabraz was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday, at St Albans Crown Court, with a minimum term of 20 years. Tabraz pleaded guilty to murder on October 25 and claimed his actions had been a so-called “honour killing”.

He claimed he carried out the attack as he believed he was acting in retribution for remarks made to one of his family members, Bedfordshire Police said in a statement. Tabraz fled the country after the attack, but was eventually extradited to Britain from the United States in August.

Sentencing Tabraz, Judge Michael Kay QC said: “The case against you is overwhelming. You were aggressive and forcefully struck Mr Mumtaz’s head, yet there was no aggression from Mr Mumtaz. Rather than face justice, you fled the country and lived a criminal and disreputable life. No doubt you would continue to evade justice, and this senseless murder initiated by you is risible and offensive to the family (of the victim).”

Following sentencing, Mumtaz’s family paid tribute to the father-of-one in a statement. “We still struggle to accept that Soheil is gone. Tabraz has affected every single member of our family in a way you cannot imagine. He has taken such a precious person away from all of us; ruined our lives and made a new one for himself, living freely without remorse or paying for his crime,” they said.

“There is no sentence that can be imposed that will ever reflect the grief and pain that has been felt by our family. Soheil will always be in our hearts, no matter how broken they are.”

Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, who led the investigation, said there has been no direct evidence to support his reasoning for his actions. “There can be no honour in murder, and we can only hope the sentence handed down by the judge today may finally provide some small comfort for Mr Mumtaz’s family, who have suffered every day since April 4 2001,” Jenkins said.

“Nothing will make up for their loss, but at least they now know that the person responsible is incarcerated.” The Crown Prosecution Service’s senior crown prosecutor Robbie Weber described the attack as “horrendous and senseless”.