Man Jailed For Murder Of A Mum-Of-Three
4 February 2013, 11:50 | Updated: 4 February 2013, 13:20
A man from Luton who stabbed to death a married mum-of-three he was having an affair with has been jailed for life.
Sultan Khan, 51, has been told he will spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars for killing mother-of-three Shobhna Jethwa (right) in a row over compensation money from an accident he had on a building site.
Shobhna's body was discovered slumped on the sofa of the family home in Butely Road, Luton by her 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter when they came home from school on Friday 9 September 2011. The children tried to revive her, but she had been murdered some time earlier.
Mrs Jethwa, 44, was cheating on her husband Rajesh with Khan who she called "The Old Man", and a younger lover, restaurant worker Ashiq Hussain, who she called: "The Short Man."
Sultan Khan, (below) who is now wheelchair-bound, of Durbar Road, Luton, pleaded not guilty to murder, but was convicted by a jury of three women and men men at St Albans Crown Court.
Judge Andrew Bright QC had adjourned sentence for a report on Khan's physical condition.
Khan had been involved in an accident and suffered a major pelvic fracture when he was hit by a lorry on a building site at Bicester in Oxfordshire in May 2011. At the time of the killing he was walking either with the aid of crutches or a Zimmer frame.
Jailing him on Monday 4 February 2013, the judge said: "Shobhna Jethwa gave you practical and financial support after the accident. She helped you find accommodation and prepare you meals. The relationship turned sour because you were due a large some of money in compensation for the accident.
"Shobhna Jethwa wanted a share of the money. You told her you wanted to go back to your wife in India and support your daughter in London."
Defence barrister John Burton QC said Khan had a wife and three children. He had come to the UK in 2004 to 2005 from India to work and had only seen his wife once since then. His elder daughter had come to the UK herself to train as a nurse.
He said Khan had not gone to the house to kill his lover. He had taken her a top up for her mobile phone. The murder weapon was a knife taken from her kitchen drawer. "Something happened in the house. There was a lack of pre-meditation," he said.
At the time of the killing detectives investigating the case were surprised when the 12 year old son told them he knew where his mother's boyfriends lived and took them to their addresses in Dunstable Road and Leagrave Road in Luton.
A key-ring recovered from the dead woman's handbag had the words: "I love you S K" inscribed on it. The keys were to Sultan Khan's home.
Khan was captured on CCTV walking with crutches and catching a bus at five to ten that morning from near Beech Hill Post Office. At 10.13 he got off, a short distance from Shobhna Jethwa's home.
A neighbour cleaning the blinds in his bathroom saw Khan use his crutches to open the gate to the back garden of the Jethwa's home that lunchtime.
He was next seen boarding a bus just before 2pm. Then at 4.42 he was seen having changed his identity by switching from Western Clothing to an Asian garment. He had discarded the crutches and was walking with a Zimmer frame.
In the days before the killing prosecutor Sam Mainds said there lengthy phone calls, up to two hours long, from Mrs Jethwa to Sultan Khan. He said: "She and Mr Khan had an intense relationship for two years. She was a woman who did not leave him alone. He sneaked down to her home when her husband was away. She fed him and they had sex together.
"She looked after him after his accident and cooked for him at his home. At the time she was putting pressure on him. There were three calls from her to him on 6 September for over an hour.
"The son heard rows between her and the defendant in which she demanded half of his accident money because she had helped him," said the prosecutor.
Khan had bought the top up for her mobile phone on his way to the house, indicating that he had not gone there to kill her, but it is thought a row broke out while she was ironing.
At the time of the killing the younger boyfriend Ashiq Hussain, who she had been seeing for 3 and a half years, was at his Mosque in Luton. The father of three, whose wife is in Pakistan, told the jury: "We were best friends and I miss her."
Her husband was working as a train manager on a Virgin train between Manchester and London. He told the jury: "Since she met this fellow life has changed. It was a happy marriage for the first 25 years."
Khan did not give evidence. When questioned by police, Mr Khan said: "I don't know what happened. I didn't do it."
Jailing him Judge Bright said: "You had no intention of giving her a share of the compensation money. You decided to be rid of her. You left her body knowing her three children would find her."
After sentencing, the judge commended officers from the Beds and Herts Major Crime Unit who had investigated the case.