Life sentence for killer who beheaded girlfriend

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A MAN who beheaded his teenage girlfriend with a kitchen knife was today handed a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of murder.

Aras Hussein was told he will serve a minimum term of 20 years for what police describe as a “fatal, frenzied knife attack” on 18-year-old Sheffield City College student Reema Ramzan.

Reema Ramzan

Reema Ramzan

Hussein, 21, was found with a self-inflicted stab wound to his chest by a member of the public in the Shirecliffe area of Sheffield on June 4.

When police arrived at the scene, they searched Hussein’s property on Herries Road and found the beheaded body of Miss Ramzan, who was described as an “outstanding” and “extremely dedicated” student.

During the trial of Hussein at Sheffield Crown Court, the jury was told Miss Ramzan was still alive when her boyfriend started to cut off her head with a knife.

The defendant was found guilty of murder today and given a life sentence with a minimum term of 20 years. He had previously admitted the killing on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder.

In a statement released after the sentencing, Miss Ramzan’s family said: “Since the death of Reema, nothing is the same anymore. We miss her every single day and not a moment goes by that we do not think of her.

“Words cannot describe the pain we feel not having her here. Reema was not just a beautiful girl to look at, she was a beautiful girl inside; so kind and helpful, she was always smiling and we loved her so much. We couldn’t have wished for a more loving and caring daughter and sister.

“As a family we are absolutely devastated and still cannot believe this has happened. We don’t think we will ever be able to get over losing Reema and we just wish we could have her back, just one more time, to hold her and be able to say goodbye.

“We are devastated by what has happened, Reema was such a special person in our lives’ and the hole that has now been left in our hearts’ will never be filled.”

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and the kind words and messages people have offered us; it means so much and we know Reema would have been touched by knowing everyone loved her and thought so much about her.”

Hussein was taken to hospital for his injuries after being arrested in June last year and was later charged with the murder of Miss Ramzan.

Police say his mental health has been an ongoing factor in the case following his transfer from prison to Rampton Secure Hospital in North Nottinghamshire in July. He was deemed fit to stand trial at a court hearing on March 17.

During the trial, prosecutor Graham Reeds QC told jurors about the wounds Miss Ramzan suffered at the hands of her Iraqi-born boyfriend.

Mr Reeds said: “Bruising into tissue wounds suggest that Reema was still alive as the defendant started to remove her head.

“The process of decapitation would require considerable motion with corresponding considerable force which needed to be sustained until all the tissues had been cut through.

“Force would also be needed to restrain the victim who is likely to have been struggling.

“Severe force would have been needed to cut through the spinal vertebrae with a knife in order to remove the head.”

Mr Reeds told the jury: “No-one can know what happened in that room immediately before the killing and what led to it.”

Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge, who led the South Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “This is an incredibly sad and heartbreaking case and my deepest sympathies are with Reema’s family and friends.

“Reema was a kind and considerate young woman who had a bright and promising future to look forward to. Regrettably, her life was taken far too soon and in such tragic circumstances.

“This has been a difficult investigation however I am satisfied with the verdict today and I hope it provides some form of closure for Reema’s family.”

Julie Byrne, Principal of Sheffield City College, where Miss Ramzan studied, said: “We want to, once again, offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to Reema’s family and friends.

“Students and staff are extremely shocked and saddened by Reema’s death. The loss of her life at such a young age, and in such horrific circumstances, is an absolute tragedy.

“We will remember Reema for the inspiring young woman that she was - the sparkle in the class. Reema was completing a full-time health and social care course with us.

“An outstanding student, she was extremely dedicated and achieved distinction grades across the board. Reema was very highly thought of by staff and students alike. She was a kind and considerate young woman who always walked into class wearing a huge smile.

“Reema was generous with her time and happy to help her fellow class mates who approached her for guidance with their studies.

“She thrived on discussions on health and social care topics. She always received fantastic feedback on any activity she undertook. Reema had just completed a two-week work placement prior to her death, where she was described as reliable and hard working.

“Reema was determined to go to university. Her final grade would have secured her a place at university where, we firmly believe, she would have continued to shine.

“Reema passed her Health and Social Care Level 3 Diploma course with a distinction* - the highest possible grade. We have passed the certificate onto her family. A tree will be planted in the college grounds in memory of Reema.”