A man has been found guilty of killing a student he was "obsessed" with in a jealous rage and dumping her body inside a large suitcase.

Muhammad Arslan, 27, forced a floral-patterned mask into the mouth of 21-year-old Hina Bashir, from Manor Park, after she visited his shared flat in Ilford last July.

He claimed he had only meant to quieten her after he confronted her over naked photographs of her that he had been sent.

The prosecution rejected his explanation as “elaborate and concocted” and asserted he had killed her out of anger and jealousy.

Arslan, of Natal Road, Ilford, admitted manslaughter on the first day of his trial but denied murder and perverting the course of justice by concealing Hina’s body.

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for five hours and 20 minutes to find him guilty of the charges on Wednesday (June 22).

Hina’s family in court expressed relief as the verdicts were delivered while Arslan stood impassively in the dock with his arms crossed.

The court heard how Arslan and Hina grew up in the same village in the Faisalabad district of Pakistan.

From the age of 11, Hina had been befriended via text message by the then 17-year-old defendant, it was alleged.

At one point, Arslan declared: “How wonderful it is that I have found my princess in the house right next to mine.”

Ilford Recorder: Muhammad ArslanMuhammad Arslan (Image: Met Police)

Hina went on to reject his advances and had a boyfriend in Pakistan and another after moving to the UK in November 2021 to study business management at Coventry University’s London campus, the court heard.

She also worked part-time for a security company at Queen Mary University London.

Within months of her arrival, Arslan had followed her, enrolling at the University of Essex for a masters degree in data science and applications and working part-time in a warehouse, jurors heard.

Arslan already had a masters degree in maths and quantum physics from the University of Faisalabad and had given up a job as the manager of a pharmacy to travel to the UK, jurors were told.

On the evening of July 11 last year, Hina and two female friends had visited Arslan’s flat to collect some belongings she had left there while moving.

Ilford Recorder: Hina Bashir was studying in LondonHina Bashir was studying in London (Image: Met Police)

When Hina did not come out, her friends had to leave without her and the student was never seen alive again, jurors were told.

Having killed her, Arslan put her body into a suitcase in the bedroom he shared with a friend and stored it there overnight.

Arslan then spent hours trawling through her private messages and photographs on her mobile phone, the court was told.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson KC had told jurors: “The next morning, the defendant set off from his house, dragging behind him a suitcase containing Hina Bashir’s dead body.

“He got a lift from a taxi driver who lived in his house and travelled to an industrial estate by the M25 near Upminster, near a business where he was employed as a warehouse worker.

“He got out of the taxi and dragged his suitcase to the side of a lane where he hid it in some undergrowth. He left the suitcase concealed there in the days that followed.”

After the killing, Arslan had deleted his contacts from Hina’s phone, lied to police about her disappearance and made inquiries about travelling to Northern Ireland and Birmingham.

He initially denied involvement in her death despite the “wealth of evidence”, jurors heard.

Hina’s blood was found on his bedclothes, matching floral face masks were recovered from his home and the taxi driver confirmed taking the defendant and his heavy suitcase to the industrial estate where it was dumped.

CCTV footage also captured Arslan leaving his house with the suitcase and then later dragging it along the lane to where it was eventually discovered, Mr Patterson said.

Arslan’s DNA was also identified on the suitcase handle and soil from the deposition site was found on his shoes.

An examination of his phone revealed the extent of his obsession with Hina before and after she travelled to the UK.

He had repeatedly declared his love for her and reacted with shock on learning she had found someone else.

Mr Patterson said: “The police also found on his phone a very large number of photographs of Hina Bashir, some of them having been ‘photoshopped’ or altered using software or apps.

“They found pictures of her on which love hearts had been added and they found collages that had been created of her image. The evidence suggests that he was obsessed with her.

“However, it appears Hina Bashir did not want to be with him and in fact had a relationship after she came here with another young man.”

In his evidence, Arslan claimed that he had been friends with Hina since she was 11 and romance had followed, even though they could not meet openly for cultural reasons.

He admitted it was a “fantasy” that she was his fiancee but he still wanted to have a relationship.

Following the guilty verdicts on Wednesday, Judge Richard Marks KC remanded Arslan into custody to be sentenced on Friday.

Reporting by PA.