Murder accused 'did not blame mother-in-law for broken arranged marriage'

Court news
Court news

A man accused of knifing his mother-in-law to death told police he did not blame her after his wife fled their arranged marriage, a court has heard.

Muhammad Tafham, 31, is said to have killed Rahman Begum, 46, in anger at her home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, before he placed the alleged murder weapon in her hand in a bid to make her death appear to be a suicide.

A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court has heard the defendant came to Britain from Pakistan in 2016 on a three-year spouse visa on condition of residence with Mrs Begum's daughter, Aysha Gulraiz.

In February Ms Gulraiz, 25, left the family home to live with her long-term boyfriend in Bradford after a series of bust-ups with the defendant over his refusal to grant her a divorce.

The Crown say Mrs Begum, known as Ruksana, then helped trick Tafham to leave the house in Clement Royds Street while her daughter returned to swiftly collect her belongings.

A day later on February 7 the mother-of-five was discovered lying on her kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

A post-mortem examination found she had suffered three major stab wounds to the front of her body, with one passing through her breast bone and into her heart.

Tafham was arrested later the same evening and said he had visited the address earlier in the day to pick up £300 that Mrs Begum had previously given to him towards a holiday flight to Pakistan.

He denied arguing with her and said he stayed for "about 10 to 15 minutes" before he left.

Police then told him CCTV cameras had captured him leaving the house about 45 minutes after his arrival and that the house's own CCTV system was disconnected inside just before his exit.

The defendant denied he turned off the camera.

The interviewing detective asked: "When you left that house had you already killed Ruksana?"

"No," Tafham replied.

The officer went on: "Did you blame Ruksana for your wife leaving you?"

Tafham said: "No."

He also denied he felt "insulted" by Mrs Begum or had stolen her money.

He said he would have killed his wife for leaving him if he had any problems, but he said he didn't have any problems.

Tafham told police his mother-in-law had complained about her daughters "giving her trouble" and she had said: "I'm so fed up that I will just finish my life."

He added that Mrs Begum was "like a mother to me".

The court has heard that blood matching Mrs Begum's DNA profile was found on the defendant's hooded jacket and pair of trainers recovered from his bedroom, as well on a clear latex glove found in the inside pocket of the jacket.

When interviewed the defendant offered no explanation for the blood stains.

Tafham denies murder.