Life sentence for student who killed wife with hammer

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AN ANGRY husband who battered his young wife to death with a claw hammer after finding a text message she had sent to a love rival has been jailed for life.

Privately-educated student Danish Irfan showed no emotion as a judge told him he must stay behind bars for a least 15 years before he could be considered for release following the murder of 21-year-old Ridda Zanab at their Bradford home last November.

Irfan, who had no previous convictions, struck his wife at least 10 times with the hammer while she lay defenceless on a bed.

A court heard how the force of the blows forced fragments of bone into her brain and she was left “unrecognisable”.

Sentencing Irfan, Judge Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said it had been a terrible and brutal assault adding: “Ridda survived for some minutes after the attack. We can only hope that her suffering was short.”

Irfan, whose wife had given birth to their daughter just a few months before her murder, used a fake passport to flee the country after the killing, but he came back to the United Kingdom and surrendered himself to police in February.

During his trial at Bradford Crown Court Irfan, 22, admitted the manslaughter of his wife, but he denied murder on the ground that he had suffered a “loss of control” during a heated row over the text message.

But after two hours of deliberation the jury found him guilty on the murder allegation and yesterday Mr Justice Stuart-Smith described the couple as “completely incompatible as partners” owing to the differences in their lifestyles and cultural expectations.

The jury heard how the couple met and married in Huddersfield while Irfan, who had obtained a two-year student visa to come to the UK, was studying a business management course in Manchester.

Mrs Zanab, who was born in Bradford, was said to have had a “rebellious streak” with a Westernised outlook on life and Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said the pair should never have become husband and wife.