HMA v Muhammed Rauf, Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 19 March 2019, Lady Rae sentenced Muhammed Rauf, Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat to life imprisonment after the three accused were found guilty of the murder of Haider Hayat. The punishment part for Mohammed Rauf was set at 24 years, while the punishment parts imposed in the cases of Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat, who were also convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice, was 25-and-a-half years.

On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:

“Muhammed Rauf, Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat you have all been convicted by the jury of the brutal murder of a defenceless man who was, at the start of the assault, in all probability, asleep in his bed.

“He was then subjected to a sustained, relentless and merciless attack with lethal weapons.

“From the chilling recording which the jury heard of the noise from within the flat, it is clear that this attack lasted in excess of six minutes. The number of injuries Mr Hayat sustained were so extensive that it was difficult to count them.

“The pathology evidence revealed that he sustained at least 100 severe blows to his head and his throat and neck were cut at least 16 times. The neck injuries were probably inflicted when he was already dying. In addition he had numerous other blunt force injuries to other parts of his body including defensive injuries.

“In my view two essential questions have to be asked - why was this poor man killed and why was he killed in such an appalling fashion?

“We may never know, however I did note in the course of the trial, that it seemed to be implied that the deceased might have been an abusive husband. I now see from the social work report, Saima Hayat, that you specifically allege he was abusive towards you.

“You also allege, for the first time, that, before the killing of your husband, you were struck by him on the head with a hammer and knocked unconscious, as a result of which you were unable to take any part in the killing. That is indeed an interesting account, having regard to fact that there was no medical evidence from the doctors who examined you at the hospital that you suffered any injury whatsoever.

“Having regard to the multiplicity of lies and concocted accounts which all three of you have made in this case and at different times, I would have considerable difficulty believing anything any of you now claim or have claimed in the past. “From the evidence I have heard in this case I am satisfied that you Saima Hayat were the abusive partner in this relationship and not your husband. The evidence disclosed that you are a manipulative, scheming woman.

“You and your co-accused plotted and planned to get rid of your husband, the father of your five children.

“Mr Rauf may well have been the main assailant but all three of you are responsible for what was a merciless attack on Mr Hayat and all three of you are equally responsible for his death.

“Mrs Abid and Mrs Hayat, you were also convicted of an attempt to pervert the course of justice by trying to cover up your crime in various ways all as libelled in that charge.

“Both of you concocted a number of preposterous and inconsistent accounts, including stories of mystery masked intruders, poisoning and a claim that all eight children, some very young and all present during this despicable killing, had been poisoned and injected with some unknown substance, resulting in eight ambulances being despatched to take both of you and the children to hospital. No injuries and no evidence supporting your assertions were found.

“What is so tragic in this case is that, because of your actions, that is, all three of you, eight innocent children have gone through an experience to which no child should have been exposed.

“Eight children will have to grow up without their parents. They too are the innocent victims in this case. They are victims in the same way as the deceased’s close family members whose victim impact statements I have read.

“The jury also heard from the brothers of Mr Hayat and the Imam who knew the deceased all of whom deponed as to the type of man he was.

“I have listened carefully to submissions by all of your senior counsel but there is little if any mitigation which can be offered in this case, other than that none of you have any previous convictions.

“What I have observed throughout this trial is that none of you has any genuine remorse whatsoever for what you did.

“You Mohammed Rauf gave evidence and you appeared to think you were fully entitled to do what you did. You too attempted to blacken the character of the deceased, based partly, it appears, on an account from the deceased’s wife, a proven liar, and, as I have commented before, having regard to the obvious lies told in this case, including by you Mr Rauf, it would be difficult to believe anything you say.

“In your case Shahida Abid you even applauded the learned advocate depute, in what appeared to be a mocking fashion, after he had concluded his address.

“In my view, in this case no genuine remorse has been expressed and none displayed by any of you.

“In respect of the murder charge, there is only one sentence which I can impose, and that is life imprisonment and that is for all three. Also, I require to make an order setting what is called a punishment part, that is, the minimum period of time that you require to serve in prison to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence.

“Having regard to the nature of what is contained in charge 2, I intend to take that into account when assessing an appropriate punishment part in the case of you Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat and consequently in your cases I shall increase the period which I would have otherwise imposed on charge 1.

“I am aware that that enhancement must reflect only the elements of retribution and deterrence. In view of that increase I shall impose a concurrent sentence on charge two. The effect of this will be that none of you will be eligible for parole or release until the whole of the punishment part has expired.

“Thereafter it will be for the Parole Board and the Parole Board alone to consider whether you still present a risk to the public, or, whether you can be released on a life licence with appropriate conditions. If you are still considered a serious risk, after the punishment part has expired, you will not be released.

“I shall deal with charge 2 first. On that charge the sentence will be three years imprisonment and that sentence will be the same in respect of both of you, Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat. To be clear, that will not be the level of the enhancement to the punishment part in respect of charge one. I shall enhance that punishment part by 18 months to reflect only the elements of retribution and deterrence.

“On charge 1 Mohammed Rauf, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment and in view the brutality and nature of this attack, together with the fact that the killing was clearly planned and premeditated, the punishment part I shall impose is 24 years. Your sentence will be backdated to 5 April 2018 when you were first remanded in custody.

“In your cases Shahida Abid and Saima Hayat I see no reason to distinguish between you. In view of the punishment part which I have imposed on the first accused and having regard to the enhancement which I intend to make in this case, the punishment part I shall impose in your cases is 25 years and six months backdated to 16 April 2018 in Abid’s case and 19 April 2018 in Hayat’s case.”