Murder victim Seema Banu told security guard that husband would ‘kill her’ and ‘tortures me’
Seema Banu told a security guard after her husband beat her that he forced the family to move to Ireland, an inquest has heard
A mother who was found dead in her Dublin home along with the bodies of her two children raised concerns that her husband would kill her nearly two years before their deaths.
Seema Banu also told a security guard after her husband beat her that he "tortures her all of the time" and that he forced the family to move to Ireland, an inquest has heard.
Ms Banu (37), her daughter Asfira (11) and her son Faizan (6) were found dead in their home at Llewellyn Court in Ballinteer, Co Dublin, on October 28, 2020.
Sameer Syed, her husband and the children's father, was charged with the three murders but died by suicide a week before he was due to stand trial last year.
This morning, the Dublin Coroners Court heard from a security worker who gave evidence that Seema Banu said her husband beat and tortured her while describing him as a "very dangerous man".
Two of Ms Banu's relatives have travelled to Dublin from India for the inquest listened to proceedings with the aid of an interpreter.
Kamran Khan, a security guard at Dunnes Stores in Sandyford, was in the store on Christmas Eve in 2018, when a colleague asked him to speak to a woman who was crying.
The woman, who the court heard was Seema Banu, spoke Hindi and Mr Khan spoke Urdu, which he said is a similar language.
Evidence was given that she told him: "My husband is beating me and my kids very badly." She also said that her husband "tortures her all of the time" and that they hadn't eaten since the previous evening.
Staff gave the family food and gardaí were called.
Mr Khan told the inquest that Ms Banu also kept saying to him: "I want to go back to India" and that she had no family here.
She also told him that her husband had worked in Dubai and that they moved to Ireland where he had promised them "a new life" and that he would "keep you happy".
The family were in the store for around two hours, the witness said, and during that time they were all crying while the children also said they were beaten by their father.
Ms Banu also said her husband "will kill me he is very dangerous" and "I don't want to leave with him, he will kill me."
During the incident Sameer Syed was outside and not allowed into the store by a member of staff.
Gardaí arrived and spoke with the family before they were taken away, he told the court.
Mr Khan said he saw the family a number of times at the store over the following weeks and said they were "not close" and "quiet".
He also gave evidence that he caught Sameer Syed shoplifting on another occasion.
Retired garda Aisling Long said she responded to the incident on Christmas Eve at 3.15pm.
She said Seema Banu reported that her husband beat her that morning but didn't want to make a statement of complaint against him, adding that she just wanted to go back to India.
Evidence was given that Ms Banu told gardaí her husband had "forcefully" brought the family to Ireland two weeks earlier and that he had beaten her "every day" since arriving here.
This included slapping her in the face, holding her throat, and saying nasty words to her.
Her daughter, Asfira, also confirmed to Gda Long that she was hit in the face by her father.
The witness said that the family were brought to Dundrum garda station where gardaí spoke to them about the abuse.
Seema Banu was later accompanied to her apartment in the Beacon South Quarter by gardaí to collect her and her children's belongings, which Gda Long believed included passports.
The mother had also informed gardaí that she did not have the finances to return to India.
Sameer Syed was in the house at the time and the couple spoke briefly in Hindi in front of gardaí.
Gda Long said they didn't appear to be fighting and that they were speaking "softly" with one another.
The mother and her children were then brought to the Sonas refuge in Blanchardstown.
When Gda Long rang the facility several days later, she was informed that the family had returned home on Christmas Day.
Gardaí carried out a number of follow up checks and referrals for both children were also sent to the Child and Family agency Tusla.
Gda Long added that she spoke to Seema Banu around two months later, who informed her she was doing okay.
At the beginning of the proceedings the Coroner, Dr Claire Keane, told the eight-person jury that the court could not blame or exonerate a person of responsibility.
The jury were told that Det Sgt Rachel Kilpatrick, of Dundrum garda station, accompanied Sameer Syed to the City mortuary two days after the deaths.
She said he identified the bodies of his wife and children and was given private time with them after each identification was made.
The inquest continues this afternoon.
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