Husband guilty of murdering his wife in Ilford while their children were at school

Ilyas Muhammad 

Ilyas Muhammad - Credit: Met

A man has been found guilty of fatally strangling his wife at their family home in Ilford.

Muhammad Ilyas, 41, of Kingston Road, was found guilty of the murder of Maria Rafael Chavex at the Old Bailey on Friday (June 10).

Ilyas killed her while their three children were at school, Scotland Yard said.

Mum-of-three Maria Rafael Chavez was murdered by her husband

Mum-of-three Maria Rafael Chavez was murdered by her husband - Credit: Met

Police and paramedics were called to a home in Kingston Road on the evening of May 13 2021 where 32-year-old Maria was found unresponsive.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An initial investigation found Maria hadn't suffered any obvious injuries and there were no signs of a disturbance.

Officers arranged for a special post-mortem examination to establish how she died which was carried out 13 days later on May 26 .

The post mortem revealed Maria had suffered compression to her neck, likely to have been as a result of being strangled, Scotland Yard said.

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Detectives from the Met's murder squad carried out further enquiries, which included collecting CCTV evidence and speaking to neighbours.

This information, along with the pathologist's findings, helped officers establish that Ilyas had killed Maria during the afternoon when the couple's three children were out of the house at school.

Following his arrest Ilyas denied killing Maria and told officers he believed she had died from natural causes.

The findings of the post-mortem examination disproved this.

The couple had moved the UK in 2019 and Maria was attending a college course to learn English at the time of her death. Ilyas was working on a market stall in Stratford.

Det Chf Inspector Laurence Smith, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: "Ilyas has not offered any explanation about the circumstances that led to his wife's death and has refused to accept responsibility for her murder.

"This is a tragic case that has left three children without their parents and I'm sure what they've been through will remain with them for the rest of their lives. My thoughts are with them and the rest of Maria's family and friends."

Ilyas will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on July 1.