MUMTAHINA JANNAT, 29
Strangled in her east London home
Mumtahina Jannat was killed by her abusive husband, Abdul Kadir, on 5 July 2011. Kadir, 49, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 17 years.
Jannat, known as Ruma, was 16 when she married the wealthy Kadir in Bangladesh, but from their wedding night until her death she suffered near continual abuse. They moved to the UK in 2002. “She had such a sweet demeanour. She wanted to be surrounded by books,” said Onjali Rauf, Jannat’s niece.
Kadir became infuriated by her independence, and Jannat confided to her family that he had drugged, beaten and raped her. She was forced to give up a college course and driving lessons. Shortly after their second child was born, Kadir kicked her in the stomach after a caesarean section, causing the stitches to open up.
Struggling with pressures of “family honour”, she endured abuse for years, but when he turned his violence towards her children, she sought help. and fled to a refuge in 2005. With an injunction in place, she tried to build a new life, “She was so proud to get her citizenship certificate in the UK, and felt it was her first step towards becoming an educated woman,” said Rauf. But Kadir did not let go, and a three-year battle over his contact with the children wore Jannat down. Every time she made a renewed effort to break free, he would threaten her family or use the children to get back into her life.
In an attempt to rid herself of Kadir, Jannat applied for sole custody of the children. She told the judge: “I’m scared he will kill me.” The judge said she was being silly. “Ruma gave up then: she just lost hope,” said Rauf.
Kadir was able to force his way back into her home. The abuse continued, and in early 2011 Jannat made her final bid for freedom, telling him he couldn’t return. Two days later she was seen dropping her daughter off at school. An hour and a half later Kadir rang his brother to say: “I’m in trouble.” Jannat had been strangled with her own scarf.
Kadir denied murder, saying the death had been accidental. A jury took less than an hour to return a guilty verdict.