An 18-year-old man who repeatedly stabbed a teenage mother and left her to die in a canal has been told he must serve at least 17-and-a-half years behind bars.
A judge told Sheffield Crown Court yesterday he believed that Ashtiaq Asghar, who murdered 17-year-old Laura Wilson in Rotherham, treated white girls as “sexual targets” and not like human beings.
Asghar was also 17 at the time of the killing and the judge pointed out he would have received a much longer sentence had he been just four months older.
Two trial juries have heard how Asghar had a relationship with Miss Wilson, who had a four-month-old daughter with his friend Ishaq Hussain.
Hussain, 22, of Ferham Road, Holmes, Rotherham, was cleared of murder a fortnight ago but the judge, Lord Justice Davis, said he thought Asghar had treated him as a mentor.
The judge said: “Hussain seems to have regarded girls, white girls, simply as sexual targets.
“He does not treat them as human beings at all. You got into that mindset yourself.”
Jurors had heard how Miss Wilson was killed in October last year just days after she revealed her affairs with the two men to their families.
Asghar lured her to the canal side near the Meadowhall Shopping Centre and attacked her with a knife he was carrying.
The court heard he stabbed her a number of times in the head but she was still alive when she was left in the water.
Some of her injuries may have been caused by Asghar prodding her with the knife to stop her getting out of the canal.
The judge said there were almost “elements of sadism” about the attack. But he also said he could not be sure Asghar set out with the aim of killing Miss Wilson.
He added: “Clearly there’s doubt that the plan was to kill. But there was a plan and that plan was to ‘slap Laura up’.”
The judge said that he was sure, though, that once the attack was under way Asghar meant to kill her.
Asghar, of Holmes Lane, Holmes, Rotherham, who sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and dark tie, admitted murder halfway through a previous trial. He was watched by members of Miss Wilson’s family yesterday as the judge ordered him to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure and not be considered for release for 17-and-a-half years.
Previous hearings were told how Asghar and Hussain exchanged text messages in the run-up to Miss Wilson’s murder.
Some of them used the language of the comedy film Four Lions, which satirised suicide bombers.
Speaking after the sentencing, Det Supt Mick Mason, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “It was a sadistic attack on a young girl. The last moments of Laura’s life must have been terrifying.”
The detective would not comment on the judge’s remarks about Asghar targeting white girls, and said Miss Wilson’s family were now concentrating on her young daughter, Alesha.
Alan Hazell, chairman of the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This was a despicable crime in which a vulnerable young woman was viciously attacked and left for dead.
“The Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board has commissioned a Serious Case Review and the executive summary will be published shortly following discussions with Laura’s family.
“While not wishing to pre-empt that report, it is clear Laura’s situation was very complex, which made it difficult for agencies to engage with her.
“However, there were times when agencies may have worked differently or more effectively.”