Husband accused of wife's murder told officers he was a family friend

A man accused of murdering his wife told police officers arriving at the scene that he was a family friend.

Birmingham Crown Court
Birmingham Crown Court

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court was shown body-worn camera footage of conversations between officers and Ameen Thabet, 50, of Smethwick, who told them he was an “uncle”, a term used by some south Asian communities to refer to acquaintances who are not necessarily blood relatives.

He told them that he found the body of Najeeba Al-Ariqy, aged 47, at her house, in Birmingham, on March 23, at around 6pm after visiting her earlier that day to deliver shopping.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Ben Douglas-Jones QC told the court the officers made efforts to ascertain who the relatives of the alleged victim were when they arrived at the two-storey house, in Sutton Street, Aston, shortly after 6pm.

On the recording, the defendant is heard saying that he was a long-standing “friend of the family.”

He said he went inside the house and found her lying on the floor. He dialled 999 for the emergency services.

Giving evidence in the witness box Sergeant Thomas Hemming told the jury that Thabet was taken to Newtown Police Station to provide a statement.

He told defending barrister Mr David Wallbank: “It was an holding position.”

The prosecution alleges Mrs Al-Ariqy, who paramedics found with a scarf round her neck, was choked to death by husband Thabet and that the defendant had staged a fake burglary to cover up his actions.

Thabet, of West Park Road, Smethwick, whom she married in 2019 denies murder.

The trial continues.

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