Details have been released of the murder of a young woman who was murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man.
Banaz Mahmod, 20, was brutally raped and beaten during a two-hour ordeal by her father, uncle and cousins before they eventually garroted her in her parents’ south London home and buried her in a suitcase.
The father Mahmod Mahmod, 52 and brother Ari, 51 were jailed for life for the honour killing, which they allegedly carried out after her family felt “shamed” by Banaz for divorcing her arranged marriage husband and choosing her own partner. Her husband in the arranged marriage was ten years older than Banaz and reportedly he used to beat and rape her. It’s no wonder she wanted to break free from this psychopath and start afresh with someone who would treat her like a human being.
Banaz’s love affair with Iranian boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani was found out by an innocent kiss after a friend who knew her strict Iraqi family spotted the pair together outside Morden tube station.
The 20-year-old had even heard her family plotting her murder and had delivered a handwritten letter to police revealing the men who were “ready to do the job.” Sadly it was not dealt with and months later she was dead.
In 2006 Rahmat reported her missing. Her family and friends vehemently denied she had gone missing and it wasn’t until her cousin Mohamad Hama came forward that the police started to uncover the truth. As he was held in the cells, his conversations were recorded where he callously bragged about the murder to a relative, including about how they had raped Banaz and that she was vomiting out of fear. He described how they had wrapped a cord three times around her neck and strangled her to death. You just can’t imagine the sheer horror of the situation.
Following these conversations police searched the family’s home where they found her body in a hole, stuffed in a suitcase. Crime writer Mark Billingham was so affected by the case that it inspired him to write novel the Love Like Blood, where he reveals details of the murder and the events leading up to it. He said:
What must it have been like for her getting up every morning, going downstairs and not knowing what was going to happen that day?
She was living every minute, of every hour of every day in absolute terror.
Speaking of her loving relationship with her own boyfriend, Mark says:
They worshipped one another and they tried to keep apart.
They knew the trouble they were going to get in but they couldn’t be without one another so they would meet secretly.
The kiss outside the station back in 2005 triggered a chain of events that led Banaz to believe that her family were out to kill her. In the letter to the police, she referred to family members as numbers, writing:
Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 said they are ready and willing to do the job of killing me and my boyfriend.
Five members of her family have been convicted of her murder and sentenced to a total of 100 years in prison. However, police said more than 50 people were involved in some way with the case including some who offered to lie for the family members who had carried out the murder. I don’t know how you could live with yourself covering up such a horrific and unjustified crime.
Sadly, the tragedy doesn’t end there, as Banaz’s boyfriend Rahmat was so overcome with grief at the death of his love that last year he hanged himself. Mark added:
It is desperately sad. You go back to the two of them meeting outside that tube station, having that kiss, and 10 years later they are both dead.
I thought an honour killing was a father or uncle strangling a nephew, niece or daughter. I didn’t realise that it could involve quite as many people and be quite as brutal as what happened to Banaz.
In addition to the father and uncle, her cousin Mohamad Hama, 30, was jailed for at least 17 years for involvement in the killing, while Mohammed Ali, 30, and Omar Hussain, 32, were also jailed for life.
During the sentencing, judge Brian Barker said:
This was barbaric. For you, respect was more important than your flesh and blood.
It’s a truly haunting case and one that will stay in many people’s minds for years to come. How can a family justify forcing their daughter into an arranged marriage with a man who beats and rapes her? That alone is twisted enough, but then when she finally found love and happiness with someone new, her family members felt justified in raping and murdering their young relative. It’s hard to wrap your head around it. RIP to both Banaz and Rahmat – a tragic case of suffering and loss.
For five crimes against humanity that the US government completely ignored, click HERE.