An abusive husband who strangled his wife to death after she announced she was leaving him was jailed for life on Friday night.

Father-of-two Abdul Kadir, 49, killed Mumtahina Jannat, 29, after subjecting her to years of violence and threats in a marriage “plagued with mistrust and violence”.

Ms Jannat had given up a college course and driving lessons on the orders of possessive Kadir and she had complained of being kicked and beaten with a belt.

But she “signed her own death warrant” when she decided to break free after enjoying life without him while he was away in Bangladesh for two months, the Old Bailey heard.

After she did not return to the family home, Kadir rang his wife and told her: “I will not let you go easily. I will show you. I will finish you off.”

Two weeks later, on July 5 last year, she was found dead at the couple’s home in Kempton Road, East Ham, with a scarf wrapped tightly round her neck. Kadir denied murder, claiming he had taken hold of his wife to stop her self-harming and had strangled her by accident. But a jury took less than an hour to return a guilty verdict.

Kadir had been “habitually violent” towards his wife for years and her attempt to separate from him led to the killing, said prosecutor Zoe Johnson.

“In an attempt to break free, she unwittingly signed her own death warrant,’” she told jurors.

Mumtahina was last seen taking the youngest of her two children to a local infant school at 8.50am on the day of her death. CCTV footage shows her dropping her daughter off and then walking back towards the house. An hour and a half later, Kadir is seen leaving the house and getting into his car.

He called his brother and arranged to meet him outside their mother’s house after telling him: “I’m in trouble.”

Kadir told him that he had a fight with his wife and they were holding each other’s necks until she fell down.

They then returned to Kempton Road and Kadir finally dialled 999 at 12.41pm.

His brother went upstairs to find Mumtahina lying on her back on the floor in the main bedroom with a kitchen knife next to her right hand. Paramedics arrived and unwound the scarf wrapped two or three times around her neck before attempting to resuscitate her without success.

Kadir told a police officer: “We were arguing upstairs and began fighting. She picked up a knife so I slapped her across the face. We grabbed each other around the neck. She fell to the floor.”

His brother was heard telling him: “I told you should have swapped your wife because something bad would happen.”

The post mortem revealed she had injuries consistent with compression of the neck by hand and an expert concluded pressure must have been applied for at least 20 seconds, the court heard.

Kadir and his wife, who were both from Bangladesh, had married in 2000 shortly before coming to the UK. Neighbours in East Ham had previously witnessed Kadir hitting his wife and Ms Jannat had also complained about injuries she had suffered.

“He had kicked her in the belly after she gave birth, broke her wrist and hit her with a belt,” said Miss Johnson. On one occasion he told them: “All of you watch one day what I will do.”

In 2005 she left him and took her children to a women’s refuge but eventually returned for the sake of her children. Kadir went on an anger management course in 2007 but the bullying continued.

“He resented the deceased’s attempts to better herself and become more independent,” said Miss Johnson. “He was angry she wanted to go to college and wanted to learn to drive. But he had such control over her that she gave up college and her driving lessons.”

Kadir denied murder. He was jailed for life with a minimum of 17 years behind bars.