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Crime

Guilty! Businessman Zahid Naseem found guilty of Crawley womans murder

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When Christina Abbotts failed to turn up to her own birthday party in central London, her friends’ became concerned. Police found her dead in her bed at the flat she rented in Crawley having been repeatedly struck on the head. Zahid Naseem was also found at the property and was arrested for her murder. Detectives then began piecing together how the pair knew each other and how Christina came to have died.

It was Christina’s 29th birthday and she had arranged to meet friends at a bar in central London to celebrate. She had been in communication with friends during the morning of her birthday, but after around 10.30am she stopped responding, and by 10.30pm, when she hadn’t turned up at the bar, they became concerned and called police.

Officers began making checks, grading her as a missing person, and attended her home in Highams Hill in the Gossops Green area of Crawley.
When no-one answered, officers broke down the door, and found Christina dead in her bed and a man who appeared to be unconscious on the sofa. The man, who was 47-year-old Zahid Naseem, was taken to hospital but after being checked over was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Detectives began immediately trying to piece together how Christina had died and how she knew the man who was found unconscious on her sofa. Christina, originally from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, had died from blunt force trauma and manual strangulation, having been hit on the head more than 13 times with a pestle, which was found on the bed next to her. She also had bruises around her neck where she had been strangled, and upwards of 30 defensive wounds, bruising to her hands and back of her forearms.
Officers established Zahid, who lived in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, and Christina had met on an adult escort website in March 2018 and had seen each other on several occasions at hotels in London. They had planned to meet on 24 May but Zahid had cancelled due to work commitments. However he had got back in touch with Christina and made the journey down to Crawley, where she lived. He arrived around 9pm and during the evening they went to Asda to buy wine and champagne.
The pair were seen on CCTV at the supermarket around 10.30pm, this was the last time she was seen alive.

The pair had then spent the evening together drinking and taking drugs.
However at some point, Zahid had strangled Christina and bludgeoning her to death with the pestle but claimed he had no recollection of this happening.

They believed he was dead but saw his eyes flickering. An ambulance was called but their opinion was Zahid was faking his state of unconsciousness. Nethertheless he was taken to hospital to be checked over. But when when he started talking at hospital he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
In interview with officers he was open about how he knew Christina, how they met and the nature of their relationship and he gave details about what they had done during the evening in question.

He told officers no-one else had entered the flat and although he didn’t remember intending to kill Christina, admitted it couldn’t have been anyone else.
Zahid, a businessman, stood trial on December 11 at Lewes Crown Court which lasted for eight days.
On Thursday (December 20) the jury, having deliberated for four and a half hours, found Zahid Naseem guilty of murder.

Christina’s family paid tribute to her:

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic event that happened to our most beautiful and loving daughter.

“This has had a tremendous impact on our personal and professional lives as we have not been able to meet commitments due to the level of stress and shock we have been experiencing. We have our family tradition of going on holiday every year, we visited Tenerife and Lapland last year. Christina said in April, “Hey Mommy, why don’t we go to Southern France this year for our family get-away?” Instead of planning the holiday, we had to plan and go to her funeral.

“She was beautiful inside and out, and also very kind to others, putting everyone else’s need first.
“We are looking forward to the new year to have closure for our family and Christina’s friends.”

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Heater said:

“Christina was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her which has been tragically cut short. My thoughts are with her friends and family who have listened to the details of this case and remain dignified throughout.

“Zahid Naseem, after being treated in hospital, was open about how he knew Christina and the nature of their relationship which aided our investigation. However he always denied any intent to kill Christina and said he had no recollection of how it happened after drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

“His actions that night have impacted not only on Christina’s family but also had a huge impact on his own. They all now need to rebuild their lives.

“I hope the trial has given Christina’s family some answers and has brought some kind of closure for them.”

Crime

Betting shop robbed at knifepoint in Southgate, Crawley

Sussex Police are investigating a knife point robbery in Crawley and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

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A man entered a betting shop in Southgate Parade, Crawley around 10.05am on Wednesday (June 5).

He threatened the staff worker and demanded money from the till before fleeing the scene.

Officers attended the premises and conducted an area search but the suspect was not found.

Sussex Police say that all lines of enquiry will be investigated.

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross said:

“All lines of enquiry connected to this incident will be investigated.

“Engagement with the communities is vital and we will continue to educate members of the public about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

“Our message to those who carry a knife or thinking of carrying a knife is that it does not protect you and could actually make you more vulnerable and in danger of serious harm.”

Anyone with information is asked to report online or call 101 quoting 351 of 05/06.

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