Father convicted of Rania Alayed honour killing, Police still search for body on A19

A Father hhas been convicted of the murder of his wife. He has today been convicted of planning and orchestrating the honour-killing of his wife.

He was convicted of her murder today Wednesday 4th June 2014,

Rania Alayed who was aged just 25 was invited to attend a salford flat, she was completely unaware that her husband Ahmed Al-Khatib would also be at the address.

He planned to kill her when she arrived at the address, moments after she arrived her husband murdered her.

Following her death was a planned and orchestrated elaborate plot by Al-Khatib who brought in the help of his brothers to conceal and dispose of Rania’s body, she was disposed in a remote forest within the North East of England.

They ran into difficulties when the vehicle they travelled within developed mechanical problems, in that moment they decided they would bury her body in a lay-by off the A19 in North Yorkshire.

The family had claimed she had gone missing, However following a TV appeal to ensure the safe return of the already dead mother of three Muhaned Al-Khatib contacted the police and confessed to his part in the coverup admitting he had broken down.

The court today found Ahmed Al-Khatib, (born 05/05/1980) of Knutsford Road in Gorton, was today convicted of murder following a month long trial at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square.

Muhaned Al-Khatib, (born 19/5/75), of Arthur Millwood Court, Salford, earlier pleaded guilty perverting the course of justice while a third brother, Hussain Al-Khateeb, (born 07/04/1979), of Knutsford Road, Gorton, was today convicted of with perverting the course of justice.

They will both be sentenced later today at Manchester Crown Court.

Rania Alayed, 25, who had three young children with Al-Khatib aged nine, seven and two years was reported missing from home on Tuesday 2 July 2013, nearly a month after she had been murdered.

Already affronted by what Al-Khatib saw as her increased Westernisation – she enrolled at Openshaw College to study English and began to dress in a less traditional way – his increasing resentment turned to violence when he suspected she may have been chatting to other men.

By January 2013 Rania reached the point where she could no longer tolerate the physical violence and mental abuse and fled with her three children to a homeless refuge.
She sought order’s from the Court to protect her and her children from her husband; such was her fear that he may one day seek revenge for having walked away from their marriage.
On 7 June 2013 Muhaned Al-Khatib, invited Rania to his flat at Arthur Millwood Court, Salford, to see Rania’s children.

CCTV images show Rania and her children arriving at 7.31pm. This was the last image of Rania alive. The three children are captured on CCTV leaving with their uncle Muhaned at 8.19pm. It is believed that Rania was murdered, with her children in the next room, in that intervening 45 minutes.

Ahmed claimed that Rania was transformed into a Jinn – a Muslim spirit or demon – moments after they went into a bedroom to talk. He claimed to have forcefully pushed the Jinn away later realising it was Rania he had pushed, whereby she had fallen and banged her head against a mirror and died.

Muhaned took the children to their grandparents house on Knutsford Road. At the same time, Ahmed remained in the flat. He removed Rania’s clothing, dressing himself in her jeans, top and shawl, before folding Rania’s body into a large red suitcase. This was a ham-fisted attempt to confuse any potential CCTV cameras and witnesses that the person leaving the flat was Rania and not himself.

He later drove to Knutsford Road and, with Muhaned’s help, transferred the suitcase to his brother’s campervan. They were then joined by the third brother, Hussain AlKhateeb, and the three of them drove overnight to the North East where they planned to bury Rania’s body. Ahmed Al-Khatib chose this region as they had previously lived in Stockton-on-Tees before moving to Manchester and he knew a forest near Redcar he planned to bury her.

However, on the journey the campervan experienced gear-box trouble so they decided to bury her in a layby on the A19, some way short of their intended destination.

Despite numerous attempts to locate Rania’s body, it has yet to be found and given a proper burial.

After burying Rania, the trio set off back for Manchester, but on the M1 near Rothwell the campervan packed up. They had to call the AA and were picked up and towed back to Manchester. When they arrived back in Gorton they dumped the suitcase, by now cut up into pieces, on wasteground.

In the coming days and weeks, friends and family became increasingly worried that they hadn’t heard from Rania and the police were called. Ahmed insisted he hadn’t seen her.

Ahmed’s parents told police and others that her children had simply arrived on their doorstep by taxi in June 2013 and they gave them shelter believing their mother had returned to her native Syria. This was clearly another part of the plot to try and fool others.

A televised missing from home appeal then prompted Muhaned to confess to his wife that she hadn’t disappeared and that Ahmed had killed her and he had helped bury her body.

Detectives carried out a painstaking trawl of mobile phone records, CCTV and ANPR cameras, both in Manchester and across the country to the North-East, which pieced together the full circumstances.

The search for Rania’s body has been equally exhaustive with officers from GMP joining forces with both North Yorkshire Police and the military to firstly identify and search a number of laybys on a 15 mile stretch of the A19. That search goes on and officers are continuing to appeal to any information that can help them locate her body.

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.

“To deprive his own children of their mother is both sickening and chilling in the extreme. To later attempt to justify the killing by claiming a Jinn was about to attack him is both insulting to Rania’s memory and counter to all the evidence of a pre-planned honour-killing.

“And, make no mistake, this was an honour killing. Honour-based violence is committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of a family and/or community, usually against young women, where they have acted outside perceived acceptable female behaviour patterns.

“Al-Khatib’s murderous actions were motivated by his outrage and jealousy that Rania would attempt to take control of her own life and live a more westernised life, after suffering years of abuse at his hands.

“His male ‘pride’ clearly couldn’t take a strong woman trying to determine her own fate, so he carried out one final act that would ensure she could never defy him again.
“The irony is that this horrific act of self-pity has brought nothing but shame on him and his family.

“He has also told a catalogue of lies to wriggle out of his date with justice, which has not only created a considerable amount of additional work for detectives, but also prolonged the agony of Rania’s family and has prevented us finding her body.

“We continue to employ the most high-tech methods to search for her and we will not stop until we find her and she can be given the dignified burial she deserves.”

• If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone that is you can seek by contacting the Women’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525 or visit endthefear.co.uk. Report ALL incidents of domestic abuse to police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Always dial 999 where there is a threat to life or crime in progress. ALL reports are taken seriously

• If you’re a friend, family member or neighbour who witnesses signs of domestic abuse report it to police. GMP takes ALL reports of domestic abuse seriously and we can’t do this alone

• Domestic abuse is not acceptable under any circumstances and there are support services available for victims and families from the report to conviction

• GMP takes firm action on any review concerning access to children following on from incidents and any offenders could face a prison sentence

Timeline: 7&8 June 2013

• 5pm – Muhaned calls Rania to confirm she is bringing the children to his flat for him to see.

• 6.40pm – Rania and her children seen on CCTV leaving her house on Beechfield Street, Cheetham Hill.

• 7.28pm – Rania and her children seen on CCTV getting off a bus on Chapel Street, Salford

• 7.31pm – Rania and her children arrive at Arthur Millwood Court

• 8.19pm – Muhaned and Rania’s children leave Arthur Millwood Court. Rania was almost certainly murdered in the proceeding 45 minutes, while the children were in the flat

• 8.36pm – Muhaned and children arrive at their grandparents house on Knutsford Road, Gorton

• 12.01am – Muhaned leaves Arthur Millwood Court with a tent in a holdall, probably used later to either conceal them digging Rania’s grave or to lay her body out on it

• 1.17am – Khatib, Muhaned and Hussain set off from Gorton in the campervan, containing Rania’s body in a red suitcase

• 3.10am – The campervan triggers an ANPR camera on the A19 near Thirsk

• 4.54am – The campervan triggers another ANPR camera on the A1, heading south, presumably after the body was buried

• 5.32am – The AA are called out after the campervan breaks down on the A1 near Rothwell, West Yorkshire

• 6.50am – The AA recovery van arrives and tows the campervan to Harkshead Moor services on the M1

• 9am – They arrive back in Gorton

• 10.39am – a bag containing the cut-up remains of the suitcase is dumped on waste ground off Gorton Road.