Man pleads guilty to Luton 'honour killing' after almost 20 years

A Luton man who fled abroad to evade arrest is now facing prison after pleading guilty to the 2001 murder of 24-year-old Soheil Mumtaz.

Tabraz Mohammed, 39, pleaded guilty today (Friday) at the Old Bailey and will be sentenced on Tuesday, December 3, at St Albans Crown Court

Tabraz

Tabraz

At around 9.30pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2001, Mr Mumtaz, also from Luton, was lured to a meeting in Kenilworth Road by Mohammed.

Once there, he was set upon by Mohammed who hit him repeatedly with a hammer, causing fatal head wounds.

Mr Mumtaz was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries on Monday, April 9. He left behind a pregnant wife and a 14-month-old child.

An investigation was launched and detectives discovered that Tabraz had taken a flight to Pakistan in order to evade arrest the day after the attack, and all attempts to locate him were to no avail.

Information was then received from the USA in 2017 that Tabraz was residing there, and had entered the country just weeks after the attack, setting up a whole new life that he had been living for almost two decades.

A warrant was granted by Luton Magistrates’ Court on 17 January 2018. The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit worked with the US authorities to carry out the extradition process.

On August 6 this year, officers travelled to the US to extradite Mohammed - then residing in jail in New Jersey - and transported him back to the UK, where he was arrested and charged with murder.

DCI Justine Jenkins, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts major crime unit, said: “This vicious attack was orchestrated on a husband and father in retribution for a perceived slight in remarks made, of which there is no direct evidence, to a member of Mohammed’s family. These were remarks not heard directly by Mohammed; in fact he didn’t know if they were even true.”

"There is no honour in murder and his admission in court will hopefully provide some comfort for Mr Mumtaz’s family, who have spent almost two decades without any closure.

“Mohammed’s cowardly flight out of the country meant he has never been held to account for his actions and only now will he finally face justice.”

Mr Mumtaz's family paid tribute to him today, and said: "Soheil was a loving husband and father who was cruelly taken from us.

"We have suffered pain and hurt since that time and, whilst we are pleased that he has at last been brought to justice and has pleaded guilty, it does not make up for us continuing to live without a husband, father, brother and uncle. It will never diminish the pain."

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