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Alleged crossbow killer was acquitted of threatening ex-wife with knives in trial five years ago, court hears

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 10 April 2019

Newbury Park mum Sana Muhammad, 35, died from injuries to her stomach following a domestic incident. Photo: Aamana Malik

Newbury Park mum Sana Muhammad, 35, died from injuries to her stomach following a domestic incident. Photo: Aamana Malik

Archant

A man accused of murdering his heavily pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow in her Newbury Park home had been acquitted of intimidating her with knives five years earlier, a court heard.

Jurors at the Old Bailey yesterday (April 9) were told Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo had spent at least a year plotting a revenge attack on Sana Muhammad - known as Devi Unmathallegadoo before her re-marriage - her husband Imtiaz and their unborn child.

The court heard how, on November 12 last year, Ramanodge burst out of the garden shed of Sana’s Applegarth Drive home, ran into the house wielding two crossbows and fired a bolt which pierced her heart.

Sana died from her injuries but her newborn son was saved by paramedics who performed an emergency caesarean.

Prosecutor Peter Ratcliff told jurors of a prior incident on March 16, 2012 - before the couple’s separation and eventual divorce - when Sana jumped out of a first floor bedroom window and broke her heel.

“She had seen the defendant in the garden holding a long kitchen knife,” he said.

“He was sharpening the knife against the fence post and staring at her.”

He said the defendant returned to the kitchen to retrieve more knives before going back to the fence post to sharpen them, staring at her the whole time.

Ramanodge was acquitted following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court the following year, the court heard.

The prosecutor also read aloud a statement from Sana’s mother Eilamah, chronicling the disintegration of their marriage.

“The relationship between Devi and Ramanodge started around 19 years ago,” it read.

“It was an arranged marriage.

“Ramanodge and his sister came around to arrange a marriage.

“He had a good job in the UK and his job prospects were good. It was decided the next day that they would get married.”

The couple had a civil ceremony in 1999, when Sana was 16 and Ramanodge was 33.

They moved to the UK in 2001, the court heard, initially settling in East Ham.

“Around five years on from them going back to England they were encountering problems,” the statement continued.

“Ramanodge was coming home and withdrawing within himself and not talking.

“[Devi] was crying and telling me what had happened.

“Ramanodge had changed after Devi gave birth for the first time.

“She was crying on the phone to me and telling me she would leave him one day.”

Eilamah’s statement described Ramanodge as normally “cool and calm” but he was no longer being himself and “would not talk”.

“She hoped things would improve but it got worse,” the statement added.

“She was telling him regularly that she was going to leave him because of his moods.

“Ramanodge’s reaction was not to say anything.

“I think he didn’t really believe that she was going to leave.”

The prosecutor said Sana met Imtiaz while he was doing building work on her neighbour’s house in East Ham.

Ramanodge later employed Imtiaz to redo the kitchen of their new home in Applegarth Drive shortly after they had moved.

“One day [Sana] called me and said: ‘I love Imtiaz’,” the statement added.

“I was not happy about it. I told her she was a married woman and she had to stay with her husband. She told me that she loved him and that he was a good person.”

Ramanodge would contact Sana’s mother asking her to convince her daughter not to leave him for Imtiaz, according to the statement.

“He was begging for [Devi] to go back to him,” it said.

“He said ‘I had worked very hard for that house. And now she is going to stay with another man.’

“Ramanodge was crying and pleading for [Devi] to go back to him.”

Sana reportedly once told her mother that Ramanodge had starting meeting up with their children and remarked “maybe he wants to kill me”.

“I didn’t know why she told me that,” Eilamah’s statement said.

Mr Unmathallegadoo denies murder and attempted child destruction.

The trial continues.

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