Pakistani man jailed for killing man he suspected of affair with wife

Shahzad Hussain
Shahzad Hussain

A Pakistani man has been jailed for nine years at the Central Criminal Court for killing a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife.

Shahzad Hussain (35), with a last address at Woodland Avenue, Mosney, Co Meath, was previously jailed for life for murdering his wife's cousin and his own distant relative Muhammad Arif (32).

He was also sentenced to seven years for seriously injuring his wife Rashida Bibi Haider (44) and two years for assaulting her on January 6, 2011 at Mr Arif’s apartment in Fitzwilliam Court, Dyer Street, Drogheda, Co Louth. He had denied the charges.

However, in July 2014 the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed his murder conviction and ordered a retrial after a three-judge court found that there was a “very real risk of injustice” in the manner in which the central question of provocation was explained to the jury by the trial judge.
Last January Mr Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, told the Central Criminal Court that in circumstances where the court of appeal had directed a retrial, he had been instructed by the DPP that Hussain could be arraigned on count one.

On January 27 Hussain pleaded not guilty to the murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Arif.

At the time prosecution counsel told the court that this plea "meets the case in the circumstances."

The court previously heard that Hussain was currently serving a sentence on the other two counts on the indictment "as those were not overturned by the court of appeal."

Today Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan extended her sympathy to the family of Mr Arif who she said had "died so tragically."

Ms Justice Heneghan told the court that at the sentence hearing on April 4, evidence was given by Detective Inspector Patrick Marry from Dundalk Garda Station concerning the "distressing facts of this case."

"It has been said in cases where there has been a death that even a long sentence will end at some point but the suffering of the deceased's family is indefinite and this is unfortunately true," said the judge.

Ms Justice Heneghan said the aggravating factors in the case included the use of a knife by the convicted assailant, the severity of the wound inflicted and the hardship caused to the wife of Mr Arif.

"The mitigating factors are Mr Hussain's early plea of guilty coupled with his genuine remorse. I have also taken into account as other mitigating factors his voluntary attendance at the garda station, his admission to the gardai to stabbing Mr Arif, his previous good character and the fact he did not bring a knife to the scene," said Ms Justice Heneghan.

The judge then imposed a nine year custodial sentence and backdated it to the date of his arrest on January 7 2011.

Last Monday prosecution counsel Mr Costelloe called Detective Inspector Patrick Marry from Dundalk Garda Station to give evidence.

The court heard the circumstances of this case concerned the actions of Mr Hussain towards Mr Arif and the three people involved were all Pakistani nationals.

"Mr Arif arrived in Ireland in 2004 and moved to the Drogheda area where he was in full time employment and was well regarded in the area. His cousin Ms Haider was a Dutch national but she was also from Pakistan, she moved to Ireland in 2008," said Mr Costelloe.

The court heard Ms Haider got work in the Drogheda area before her husband Mr Hussain came to Ireland in April 2010.

"This was in the circumstances where Ms Haider had been previously married but he (her first husband) had died and her family then introduced her to Mr Hussain. They were married in 2004 and only first began living together as husband and wife when the accused moved here in April 2010," said counsel.

The court heard that the deceased provided a place to live for Ms Haider and Mr Hussain "so he could further his application to live here lawfully."

"It is fair to say that quite shortly after the accused moved to Ireland there were tensions in the marriage. These arose in circumstances where they were living in an apartment in Drogheda and concerns were raised over how Ms Haider was conducting herself," said Mr Costelloe.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that their marriage "could be said to have been in difficulty."

The court heard that the couple enlisted Sheikh Dr Umar Al Qadrea "to ameliorate the tensions in the marriage and get everything back on an even-keel."

"This included an intervention where all the parties except Mr Arif attended a meeting and tried to counsel them through the marriage," said Mr Costelloe.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with the barrister that in November 2010 Ms Haider said the marriage was over and she moved out of the apartment. Ms Haider went to Dublin where she got a job.

"About four weeks after that, there appears to be a decision taken by Mr Arif where he asked Mr Hussein to vacate the apartment. The accused then stayed with a family he knew in Mosney who put him up in a spare room," said Mr Costelloe.

On January 5 2011 Ms Haider returned to Drogheda and stayed the night at the apartment of Mr Arif.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that Mr Arif was a security guard in Tesco and that night he was working a shift from 8pm until the following morning at 8am.

"At 1.15pm that afternoon (January 6) there is video footage and evidence from people who were leaving the building at Fitzwilliam Court which establishes Mr Hussain outside the building at 1.16pm," said counsel.

The court heard that when the accused moved out of the apartment in December 2010 he had handed back his fob key and his key so he could not gain access into the building.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that Mr Hussain had to wait until the first door was being used by residents in order to gain access into the lobby of the apartment complex.

The court heard that the accused was seen outside the door of the apartment between 1.30pm and 1.45pm.

Det Sgt Marry told the court that the building manager made a statement that he gave the accused access to the apartment at 1.55pm "as he believed the accused was still residing there."

The court heard that it was between nine and eleven minutes between Mr Hussain accessing the building and Mr Arif ringing the emergency services.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that Mr Hussain had phoned Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri saying his wife was inside the apartment and his advice was to "wait outside and take a photo of the two" people.
The court heard that as Mr Hussain made his way inside the apartment Mr Arif was in the bedroom and Ms Haider was preparing a dessert in the kitchen.

"A different version was given by Mr Hussain. He said both of them were in the bedroom together and Ms Haider was unclothed. This was rejected by Ms Haider," said Mr Costelloe.

The court heard the accused struck his wife and she fell to the floor at which point Mr Arif then came into the kitchen.

"It is established Mr Hussain did not go into the apartment with a knife but obtained a knife in the kitchen. Mr Hussain then stabbed Mr Arif in the abdomen with a knife," said counsel.

In response Det Sgt Marry said: "The most we can say is he did not bring a knife to the scene, he got it in the kitchen."

Mr Arif then asked Mr Hussain "to take himself and his wife out of the apartment."

Counsel told the court that Mr Hussain then turned to his wife and stabbed her twice in the abdomen.

"Ms Haider said he then tried to cut her throat and she received superficial wounds to her throat. There were defensive injuries to her hands," said counsel.

The court heard Mr Hussain then vacated the premises and went around the back of the building before dropping the knife into "a wheelie bin."

While this was happening Ms Haider "who was very distressed and injured" went to the reception area in the building to get the attention of the receptionist who then rang the emergency services.

When the emergency services arrived the court heard they found Ms Haider in the lobby and both casualties were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that there was "blood loss and stab wounds" to both victims.

The court heard that Ms Haider underwent surgery on the three wounds to her bile duct.

Counsel said Ms Haider made a recovery and was discharged from hospital three weeks later.

"Mr Arif underwent surgical intervention and was then moved to Dublin where a further operation was conducted," said the barrister.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that the only way Mr Arif's life could be saved was if his liver was removed "in the hope they could get another match."

"Doctors could not sew his liver back together, he had lost so much blood so the only option was to give him a transplant with another liver. They were not able to find a match quick enough and he passed away the following day," said Mr Costelloe.

The court heard when Mr Hussain told the woman who put him up in her house in Mosney what he had done, she insisted he leave the premises.

"This woman's children gave Mr Hussain's blood stained clothing, which he left in the house, to gardai later that day.

Mr Hussain was in contact with Sheikh Dr Umar Al Qadrea again and he told him "to surrender himself to gardai."

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that on January 6 Mr Hussain surrendered himself to gardai in Drogheda.

Mr Costelloe told the court that there was "some degree of discrepancy" in interviews as Mr Hussain denied injuring his wife.

"It was only by the third interview he says it must have happened in a struggle. The accused never said he tried to cut her throat. In regards to Mr Arif he said he pushed the knife into his stomach and lost control," said counsel.

The court heard Mr Hussain has been in custody since his arrest on January 7 2011.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that the accused has no previous convictions.

The prosecution then read out several lines from a victim impact statement given by Mst Tasleem Arif, the wife of the deceased.

The court heard Mst Arif has three children who are "very depressed" since the death of their father.

Counsel read that the life of a widow in Pakistan is "very difficult" and she feels her husband's absence.

"The education in Pakistan is not free and very expensive and since the death of her husband she has no income. Her husband's desire was to give higher education to her children," read Mr Costelloe.

Defence counsel Mr Dominic McGinn told the court that Mr Arif had been living in Ireland for seven years and Ms Haider was a cousin of his.

The court heard that Mr Hussain worked in Pakistan as a chef before his arranged marriage and "came to Ireland to simply be with his wife."

"The accused didn’t have good English at the time of the arranged marriage and had poor English during the course of the investigation.

"Work was secured for him in Tesco but it was arranged through the deceased. Mr Hussain also played cricket in Balbriggan and was known to the Pakistani community through cricket," said counsel.

Mr McGinn told the court that when gardai first spoke to Ms Haider she told them she had just arrived at the apartment on January 5 2011.

However the following day, gardai found a bus ticket which showed that Ms Haider had arrived at the apartment at 7.30pm on the evening before and she had stayed the night in Drogheda.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that Ms Haider did admit she slept in Mr Arif's bed but he was not there.

Defence counsel Mr McGinn then put it to Det Sgt Marry that Mr Hussain said that when he gained access to the apartment he had discovered both Ms Haider and Mr Arif in the bedroom.

"That is what he said in respect to what happened in the apartment. Ms Haider said she was cooking at the time which there was evidence of," replied Det Sgt Marry.

Mr McGinn then put it to Det Sgt Marry that Mr Hussain said he lost control "in terms of his attack on Mr Arif."

"What the accused consistently said was that the reason for the loss of control was that Mr Arif wasn’t in anyway apologetic and said this was Ireland and not Pakistan and there was nothing wrong with extra martial relations,"

"We can only speculate and reason it out but there was food being cooked and Ms Haider was getting ready for prayer as she said. So whether she was found naked in bed with Mr Arif is questionable," he said.

Det Sgt Marry agreed with counsel that there was "no indication" that Mr Hussain arrived at the apartment with violence on his mind as he "had no weapon on him."

The court heard Mr Arif died from a single stab wound despite former deputy state pathologist, Dr Khalid Jaber finding two stab wounds.

Det Sgt Marry then agreed with the prosecution that throughout the course of the trial and since then Ms Haider said she was not having extra marital affairs with the deceased.