Newbury Park crossbow killer ‘accidentally shot’ pregnant ex-wife while checking safety latch, court hears
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A man who shot and killed his heavily pregnant ex-wife in her Newbury Park home with a crossbow has claimed he only intended to get her attention when he fired the fatal bolt.
Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, is accused of murdering Devi Unmathallegadoo, 35, who changed her name to Sana Muhammad after their marriage broke down and she left him for another man.
The defendant armed himself with two crossbows and hid in a shed at the home Ms Muhammad shared with her new partner Imtiaz Muhammad on the morning of the incident on November 12, 2018.
Mr Unmathallegadoo claimed he only had the loaded weapons to prevent himself being intimidated by Mr Muhammad when he came to confront them.
The Old Bailey heard Mr Unmathallegadoo had lived at the address in Applegarth Road for five months before he split from his wife and knew the layout well.
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In his evidence, the defendant described spotting Mr Muhammad in the garden from the shed and chasing him through the house towards the stairs.
When asked why he had the crossbow, Mr Unmathallegadoo said: "It was there only as a deterrent because I didn't want to be intimidated physically by Imtiaz."
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He said he had dropped one of the crossbows in the kitchen because he could only aim one at a time.
"Devi and Imtiaz were on the stairs. I just wanted them to stop (running) - I thought if I hit the banister they would hear the noise and stop," he said.
"I moved the crossbow to check if the safety catch was on or off - I was just checking and it went off."
He added: "While I was checking the safety catch, the next thing I know there was a bang."
Mr Unmathallegadoo said his finger had been on the crossbow while he checked the catch.
When asked what he had been intending to do, he said: "I would have checked the safety catch and then aimed at the banister."
Mr Unmathallegadoo admitted he had not simply said the word "stop".
He also said his first reaction was to go and fetch the second crossbow, adding: "When the crossbow had been discharged, I felt defenceless so the next thing I did was go back to the kitchen and get the other one."
The defendant said he had not seen that Ms Muhammad had been hit.
The crossbow bolt penetrated her body, causing "catastrophic" internal injuries, including piercing her heart, jurors heard.
Medics were unable to save her, but her baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean and survived.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told jurors: "This was a deliberate and quite calculated act of revenge on his part, intended to cause at the very least the death of Devi.
"On the evidence you hear, however, you may well conclude that his plans encompassed more than that and that, although Devi was undoubtedly his principal target, he also intended to kill her partner, Imtiaz Muhammad."
Mr Unmathallegadoo had been stockpiling weapons and equipment for more than a year before the killing, the jury heard.
He had acquired two crossbows and numerous arrows or bolts with which to carry out the attack, jurors were told.
When his cache of weapons was discovered by chance, he allegedly set about replacing it within days.
The defendant also allegedly carried out surveillance on the family home.
Mr Unmathallegadoo denies murder and the trial continues.