Mukul Chawla KC and Rose Slowe

Mukul Chawla KC and Rose Slowe prosecute murder trial where the defendant was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 33 years.

Mukul Chawla KC and Rose Slowe appeared for the Crown at the trial and sentence of Quyum Miah, who was unanimously convicted of the murder of his estranged wife, Yazmin Begum.

On 24 March 2022, the Defendant travelled to Ms Begum’s address, leaving behind his mobile phone to avoid a digital footprint. He wore sunglasses, a face mask and hat and carried with him a complete change of clothing, including footwear. He removed a pair of heavy-duty rubberised gloves from his rucksack and put them in his jacket pocket as he approached the scene. CCTV evidence and eye-witness testimony placed the Defendant standing at a vantage point close to Ms Begum’s address and fixated on her front door for a period of almost 4 hours.

Ms Begum was stabbed to death in her own home just before she was due to collect her two young children from school. She sustained over 20 stab wounds to her neck and abdomen, front and back, some forceful enough to divide bone. While she was dead or dying, the Defendant stole jewellery that she was wearing on her hands and wrist and her purse containing bank cards from a different room, changed his trousers and shoes, closed the curtains and left the property, locking the door behind him.

The Defendant then walked directly to an ATM where he emptied Ms Begum’s bank accounts using the cards that he had just stolen, to the sum of just £800. He changed out of the remainder of the clothes that he had been wearing and disposed of everything in a dustbin. Those items were later recovered by police and found to be stained with Ms Begum’s blood.

Approximately an hour and a half after the murder, the Defendant used the money that he had fraudulently withdrawn to buy a mobile phone, with footage of him doing so showing that he was relaxed and laughing with the sales staff. The first call he made was to his drug dealer, whom he met to buy crack cocaine from before returning to his home address. Two days later, the Defendant went to Cash Converters and sold Ms Begum’s bracelet and one of her rings for £193.

Police were alerted to the murder when Ms Begum did not arrive at school to collect her two young children. During the course of the investigation, it became apparent that Ms Begum had been seeking to divorce the Defendant. The Defendant was a drug addict who had persistently stolen and extorted money and other luxury goods from Ms Begum in order to fund his habit. At the time of the murder, he had a just few pounds remaining in his bank account, having exhausted his benefit monies within days of receipt, and was desperate to fund his addiction to crack cocaine.

In arriving at the appropriate sentence for the offence of murder, Her Honour Judge Hales KC stated that this was a particularly serious case in which she was in no doubt that the Defendant had murdered Ms Begum for financial gain; there was a significant degree of planning and premeditation, the Defendant had a history of stealing from Ms Begum to fund his drug habit, and that he had no money at the time of the murder. Aggravating features included that the offence took place in Ms Begum’s own home, the additional degradation of her by removing the jewellery from her body, that the Defendant locked the door after him making it more difficult for the emergency services to access the address, the attempts to conceal evidence by disposing of the blood stained clothes and cleaning the murder weapon (a knife which was later seized from his kitchen drawer by police), that the Defendant had sought without any justification to blame others for Ms Begum’s murder and had previously committed an offence of battery against her.

Concurrent sentences of immediate imprisonment were imposed in respect of offences of theft and fraud arising from the same facts.