Alleged crossbow killer hid harpoon spears near pregnant ex-wife’s Newbury park home a year before attack, court hears
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A former hospital worker hid a cache of weapons - including harpoon spears - near his pregnant ex-wife’s Newbury Park home a year before killing her with a crossbow, a court heard.
Jurors at the Old Bailey on Tuesday (April 9) were told that 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.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC spoke of how Ramanodge hid in the shed at the back of their home in Applegarth Drive on November 12 last year, “biding his time, awaiting ideal time to carry out his attack”.
He had to carry out his plan sooner than expected as Imtiaz happened to take a box from the house into the shed at 7.30am, the court heard.
“In doing so, [Imtiaz] saw the defendant carrying two loaded crossbows, one of which he was pointing at Imtiaz and the other which he was carrying on his shoulder,” Mr Wright said.
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“Imtiaz ran from the shed into the house. He ran to the kitchen shouting to Devi to run.”
“They then ran from the kitchen into the corridor by the front of the house, with the defendant in close pursuit.”
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The court heard that Imtiaz ran out the front door while Devi ran up the stairs towards her children, who were getting ready for school.
“Imtiaz saw the defendant shoot Devi, who was halfway up the stairs. The effect on her was immediate and she fell to the floor,” he added.
The attack was witnessed by lodgers staying in the house’s converted loft, the court heard.
Jurors were told that Sana’s two eldest children wrestled the crossbow off the defendant.
“It would have been easier if you guys weren’t here,” Ramanodge was alleged to have told them. “I would have done it.”
Sana was taken to hospital but died of her injuries later that day, aged 35.
Paramedics were able to rescue her child, who was delivered by emergency caesarean.
The court was told that Sana had been 16 years old when her parents arranged that she marry Ramanodge, then 33, in Mauritius in 1999.
They moved to the UK in 2001, initially settling in East Ham and later moving to Newbury Park.
The prosecutor spoke of how the couple’s “rocky” marriage “disintegrated” over time as he became “withdrawn”, stayed alone in his room and “would not talk”.
He spoke of one incident in which Ramanodge was arrested after Sana jumped from a first floor window and broke her foot.
She fell in love with Imtiaz while he was employed to refurbish the kitchen of their home, the court heard.
Jurors were told that, while the defendant was in custody, Imtiaz moved into the home on Applegarth and Ramanodge was prevented from returning.
Ramanodge had been employed as the site manager at Newham General Hospital but resigned in 2013 without explanation, the court heard.
He appeared to have become homeless, his hair unkempt and wearing layers of baggy clothing, according to former colleague Ali Kinteh who would speak to him on occasion.
“The attack that took place on that morning was a culmination in a series of events carried out by him, calculated to ensure the successful outcome of what was intended to be an act of revenge on his wife,” Mr Right said.
He added: “By November 2018, [Ramanodge] was armed with two new crossbow bolts, a hammer, a knife and a homemade sheath, cables ties and duct tape.”
“We say his plan was to restrain Devi, Imtiaz and their child and to kill at least Devi, Imitiaz and their unborn child.”
The prosecutor spoke of how in November 2017, a woman living nearby had been cleaning a pathway by a substation near their house when she came across a cardboard box.
The court heard that inside this box was a step-ladder and a black rucksack containing a pair of binoculars, a bottle of some sort of lubricant, freshly cut keys and a box of medication bearing the defendant’s name.
She reported it to the police as a suspected “burglar’s kit”.
The same woman returned to clean the pathway in March 2018 and found a weathered checked bag.
Speaking of the bags contents, Mr Right said: “She found a number of crossbows - one assembled and on disassembled,
“There were numerous crossbow bolts and bolt heads. A selection of kitchen knives and what appeared to be harpoon spears.
“A small yellow cross bar and two plastic garden spray bottles that appears to contain a liquid.
He added: “Not much call for harpoons in Ilford, ladies and gentlemen.
“Not much call for scuba diving, near the substation.”
Mr Unmathallegadoo denies murder and attempted child destruction.
The trial continues.