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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A man who gambled away £90,000 of his family’s money before stabbing his wife to death has been jailed for life.
Sheikh Islam, 35, used a knife to murder Rushna Begum, 28, in their flat in Bromley-by-Bow, in May and and left their two-year-old son alone with the body while he fled to a relative’s house.
He was ordered today to serve a minimum of 14-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to murder.
Islam and Mrs Begum had been married for 10 years and had two young sons together but the relationship started to break down in 2009 when Islam’s gambling got out of control.
Islam, originally from Bangladesh, also frittered away the profits he made from selling his takeaway shop in East Ham and a small kiosk, prosecutor Peter Kyte QC said.
The couple, who had more than £30,000 of debt, were taken to court by creditors in 2011 and started to argue.
Mrs Begum complained to her housing manager that Islam was abusive and threatening.
After another row over money in 2011, Islam threatened his wife with a knife and she made a formal complaint to police, the court heard.
She told officers she had been “mentally tortured for the last two years”.
A few days later she attended a domestic violence centre and was seen to have a black eye and bruises.
In February, both Islam and Mrs Begum’s family called a meeting to discuss the couple’s problems.
During the meeting, he accused his wife of having an affair but also “begged” her to forgive him for losing their savings, spending her wages, selling her car and her jewellery.
She decided to stay with him but, a few weeks later, Islam started to threaten her again and said: “I will put an end to your life.”
On May 25, the day of the murder, Islam refused to take a phone call from Mrs Begum’s mother and the couple started to argue, said defence lawyer Jane Bickerstaff.
During the argument, Islam claimed his wife said “I have broken my promise to you”, which he believed meant she had been unfaithful.
He then fatally stabbed her but claimed he thought his son was at nursery before leaving the flat and travelling to see relatives in Luton.
Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, said gambling “had got the better” of Islam who “frittered away money”.
He said: “Your addiction to gambling has led to your downfall, misery and finally disaster.”
He said Islam had caused “untold anguish” to Mrs Begum’s family and friends.
“There is nothing the court can do or say to turn back the clock,” he said.
“She will never be forgotten.
“This was a terrible act and a terrible loss of life.”