A Birmingham cabbie has been jailed for life with a minimum of 22 years for the murder of his estranged wife, following a painstaking CCTV trawl by detectives.
Mohammed Arfan killed his ex-wife Marena Shaban on the doorstep of her Birmingham home in January this year.
Officers were alerted to the attack on 28 January within minutes but tragically Marena’s injuries were so severe, she died at the scene.
A murder investigation was immediately launched to identify the person responsible. A key witness in the investigation claimed the suspect had afro hair, however CCTV from the scene failed to identify anyone matching this description.
A Toyota Corolla was seen arriving and leaving the area around the time of the stabbing, so officers turned their attention to identifying the owner of the car.
The registration plate was unrecognisable from the CCTV, but experts believed it to be a 55 plate. Detectives contacted the DVLA for details of all the registered keepers of this make and model in the Birmingham area, however this brought little information.
Less than a week later, the Toyota was found abandoned in Rockville Road. The car, which on initial checks was not registered to anyone, was now registered to Arfan, after he had purchased it only weeks earlier.
Blood was found on the door handle and inside a lump hammer and a wig box was found, leaving officers to believe that Arfan wore a wig in order to disguise himself during the attack.
With Arfan now a key suspect in the investigation, police reviewed hours of CCTV which showed him stalking Marena before her death.
He was seen repeatedly driving past her workplace, and even walked past the front of the building wearing a glove, which was later found near to where the car was recovered.
He waited nearby for her to finish work, before heading to her home to lay in wait for her to arrive.
After the attack, which lasted less than a minute, Arfan discarded his jumper over a fence near Brookhill Road, before CCTV inside a barber’s showed him laughing and hanging out with friends less than half an hour after he killed his ex-wife.
The 42-year-old initially denied his involvement, claiming he hadn’t seen or spoken with his ex-partner for over a year, but with CCTV showing he stalked Marena, he was arrested for her murder on 7 January.
At Birmingham Crown Court on 15 July, Arfan of Sladefield Road, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 22 years.
Marena's mother said today: "The social, emotional and mental implications of Marena's tragic death have been catastrophic.
"The loss of a child is devastating and no parent ever envisages outliving their child.
"Marena was a devoted mother of four with an infectious smile who adored and loved her children, putting them first.
"The devastation felt by her children is indescribable."
She thanked detectives for their speed, support and relentless work to catch Marena's killer.
Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, from the force’s Homicide unit, said: “This is a really tragic case, where four children have not only lost their mother, they are now without their father.
“This was a really intense investigation where a suspect was not immediately obvious, but the evidence was against him and I am really pleased that Arfan has pleaded guilty.
“Marena was on the doorstep of her own home, and was tragically killed by the father of her children, and someone she trusted.”