Sameena Imam murder: Brothers sentenced for a minimum of 30 years
- Credit: West Midlands Police
The two “calculating and callous” brothers who used chloroform to kill former Loxford pupil Sameena Imam on Christmas Eve have been jailed for a minimum of 30 years.
Cash-and-carry boss Roger Cooper and ex-Army reservist David Cooper – convicted by jury yesterday of murdering the 34-year-old – were given life sentences by Judge Patrick Thomas QC.
An eight-week trial at Birminham Crown Court heard that Costco worker Roger Cooper spent at least a month plotting to kill his colleague - one of his three lovers - to prevent her exposing their two-year affair.
Ms Imam is believed to have been overpowered on a sofa at David Cooper’s home in Hughenden Drive, Leicester, between 5.07pm and 6.26pm on December 24, and then buried in an allotment.
She was reported missing by her family in Ilford after failing to return home for Christmas.
Jailing the killers for life, Judge Thomas told the siblings: “The use of a poison in a case such as this demonstrates a cold-blooded intention to kill, regardless of the consequences.
“You worked together, hand in glove, in planning and carrying out the murder of a joyful and bubbly young woman, brutally betrayed by a man she loved and his brother.”
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Ms Imam was lured to her death with the promise of a two-night stay at Birmingham’s Malmaison hotel.
But instead of being driven to Birmingham from Coventry’s Costco warehouse, where Roger Cooper was the store manager, Ms Imam was instead “delivered to her death” at David Cooper’s home in Hughenden Drive, Leicester.
Roger Cooper, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, wanted Ms Imam “out of his life” to prevent his long-term partner finding out about his affairs with her and another female colleague at Costco.
Ms Imam is thought to have been smothered with chloroform, which was bought online, minutes after arriving in Leicester at about 5pm on December 24.
Ordering both brothers to serve at least 30 years before they can even be considered for parole, Judge Thomas said: “Poisoning cases are, demonstrably, very rare.
“Historically allegations of murder by poison were treated with such seriousness that they were almost invariably prosecuted by the attorney general in person.”
The judge, who was told that a plot to kill Ms Imam was under way in early December, said of the offence: “It was a long-planned deliberate murder of a young woman whose misfortune it was to have fallen in love with you, Roger Cooper.
“You killed a bright, selfless, ambitious, hard-working and life-loving woman - a daughter, a sister and an aunt - because that fact was inconvenient to you.
“You, Roger Cooper, took her to Leicester, to your brother’s house.
“Exactly what happened there you know, and no one else does. But I am satisfied that hardly had she entered the house that you two tall, strong men held her helpless while one of you administered chloroform, probably in a cloth to her face.”
The court heard that a bottle of Bellini which Ms Imam bought in Coventry to share with Roger Cooper at the hotel was found at his brother’s home.
Police search teams found Miss Imam’s body hidden in a shallow grave on David Cooper’s allotment in Groby Road, Leicester, on January 16.
There was a sign on the door of the allotment which read: “Don’t wind me up ... I’m running out of places to hide the bodies!”
Following yesterday’s verdicts, Ms Imam’s younger brother, Imran Imam, read his victim impact statement to the court.
As his sister’s killers continued to show no sign of emotion in the dock, Mr Imam said he was constantly reminded of her loss, even by everyday items such as signposts for places linked to her death.
Mr Imam told Judge Thomas QC: “I worry about the world we live in and the risk that something similar could happen, God forbid.
“I have questions for those who did this. I fear these questions, these open wounds, will never be answered, will never heal.”