A man, who lured his wife to her death before wearing her clothing to convince family and friends she was still alive, has been jailed for a minimum of 20 years.
Ahmed al-Khatib put on his wife’s jeans and headscarf and then carried her corpse in a suitcase less than a hour after she dropped their children off at his brother's flat in Salford, Greater Manchester, on 7th June last year.
The body of Rania Alayed, 25, was then driven to the North Yorkshire area where it was buried. Police have yet to find the body of the Syrian-born mother-of-three despite numerous searches.
Khatib, 35, was on Wednesday convicted by a jury of her murder and sentenced to life.
He admitted killing her but he claimed he pushed her to the floor and she banged her head after she appeared to him in the form of an evil spirit.
Manchester crown court heard the marriage was ‘marred by violence’ and that Alayed, originally from the Middlesbrough area, left him after years of serious domestic violence.
She feared for her life and had sought help from the Citizens Advice Bureau, the police and eventually a solicitor which angered her husband's family.
The defendant's brother Muhaned al-Khatib, 38, said he was not present at the time that any violence was used against Alayed in his flat in Arthur Millwood Court and did not bear any responsibility for her murder. He was cleared by the jury of that charge.
Both he and Ahmed Al-Khatib, of Gorton, had pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice by transporting and concealing the body of Alayed.
A third brother, Hussain al-Khatib, 34, also of Gorton, was found guilty by the jury of intending to pervert the course of justice.
Muhaned al-Khatib was jailed for three years, while Hussain al-Khatib was imprisoned for four years.
Following last week’s sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Reade, of GMP's Major Incident Team, said: “Rania was a young mother-of-three with everything to live for.
“She was beginning to put an abusive and violent relationship behind her and had genuine cause to be optimistic for the future.
“But at the point, when she thought she might be able to create a better life for her and her children – free of the domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of Al-Khatib – her husband snatched it all away in the cruellest and most despicable way possible.
“Invited to a neutral meeting place, he murdered her in cold blood while her children were in the next room. We might never know whether they heard or saw anything of their mother's last movements.”