A 51-year-old man found guilty of killing his Indian-origin ex-wife while she was pregnant by firing a crossbow at her has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 33 years before parole in London on Friday.
Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, originally from Mauritius, planned the attack on his 35-year-old ex-wife Devi a.k.a. Sana Muhammad who was eight months pregnant in November last year.
Handing down the sentence at the Old Bailey court, Judge Mark Lucraft described it as a “brutal and evil attack”, which could have also claimed the life of Devi’s new husband.
“One can only assume that you were jealous of their life together and the fact that they had formed a loving bond between themselves and with your children,” he told Unmathallegadoo.
Armed with two crossbows, Unmathallegadoo had hidden himself inside the shed at the end of the garden of the east London home where Devi lived with husband Imtiaz and five children as Sana Muhammad after converting to Islam.
An arrow, which measured 18 inches, entered the victim in her hip and travelled up through her body. It missed the unborn baby, a boy delivered by emergency Cesarean section in hospital later.
“The injuries suffered by Sana as a result of the arrow penetrating 14 inches into her body were catastrophic,” Detective Sergeant Amjad Sharif, who led the murder investigation for Scotland Yard, said.
“The force of the crossbow bolt caused damage to her intestines, stomach, liver and heart. It is clear the crossbow used to kill Sana, which was legally bought and owned by Unmathallegadoo, was intended to be used as a lethal weapon. He had in fact bought a number of crossbows in recent years and appeared to be building up his arsenal of weaponry in the months before Sana was killed,” he said.
A post-mortem established the cause of Sana Muhammad’s death as complications arising from internal bleeding.
Unmathallegadoo was arrested at the scene and an investigation by detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command revealed he had started making preparations for the attack several months earlier.
Unmatahallegadoo did not answer any questions when he was interviewed by police. During the trial, he told the jury that he had been aiming the crossbow at the bannister and had not meant to kill his ex-wife. But the jury found him guilty of the murder following a trial last week.
In a statement, Imtiaz Muhammad, spoke of his grief at losing his wife, who he said was a very outgoing, bubbly and friendly person.
“She was my soul mate, my best friend, my wife, my companion and my everything and I love her dearly,” he said.
The court heard that the relationship between the deceased and Unmatahallegadoo had ended in 2012 after an incident of domestic violence.
Sana, then Devi, had successfully filed for an emergency non-molestation order which barred her ex-husband from coming within 100 metres of the family home. The order was still in place at the time of her attack.