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A husband and three members of his family have been handed life sentences for the murder of his pregnant young wife at their Birmingham home.
Mohammed Mumtaz, aged 25, his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, both aged 51, and his brother-in-law Hammad Hassan, aged 24 were found guilty of murdering Naila Mumtaz at their home in Craythorne Avenue, Handsworth back in July 2009 and today the judge handed the four defendants sentences totalling 56 years.
During the trial the court heard how Naila's in-laws believed that she had been possessed by Jinn spirits. The 21-year-old was six-months pregnant at the time of her death. A post mortem confirmed Naila died as a result of smothering.
Husband Mohammed Mumtaz and brother-in-law Hammad Hassan will serve a minimum of 13 years in prison, whilst Mohammed"s parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam will serve a minimum of 15 years.
Detective Inspector Simon Astle, who investigated the murder, said: "This was a tragic and deeply upsetting case, where a young woman had her life so horrifically ended by those she loved and trusted.
"Naila was a pretty, outgoing young woman who was soon to become a mother for the first time. "It is unthinkable that those who she was closest to would take her life in the belief that she had been possessed by evil spirits.
"Naila should now be enjoying the joys of motherhood and family life but instead her family back in Pakistan continue to mourn her death, still shocked and unbelieving that the family she entered into caused her death.
"We hope that the verdict and resulting sentences will offer some comfort to Naila's grieving family and friends both here and in Pakistan."
Speaking after the trial, Naila's family released the following statement: "Naila was a happy, confident and beautiful young woman. She came to Britain to be with her husband; we entrusted our most treasured, beloved only daughter to him and his family. "Naila was almost six months pregnant with her unborn son when she was killed in her home destroying her hopes, dreams and opportunities for the future.
"We would like to thank West Midlands Police and Crown Prosecution Service in seeking justice for Naila; we are very grateful for the jury using plain, common sense in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
"Naila will always be in our hearts and prayers and we hope her memory will live on by bringing about awareness of the issues surrounding her unfortunate death.
"Our aim now is to raise awareness of the issues faced by Naila and young people like her, they need to be able to discuss openly the issues which arise so they can be acted upon in families and communities. They need to acquire the tools to break free from these situations. We need to empower people who are vulnerable and isolated to seek help in these circumstances."