Murderer’s cousin jailed for helping him flee

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A Halifax man who helped his cousin to flee the country after he brutally murdered his wife in Bradford has been jailed for 32 months.

Danish Irfan killed his wife Ridda Zanab at their home in Alford Terrace back in November 2013 and soon after the murder he tried to contact his cousin Nouman Qureshi.

After being unable to get hold of him Irfan left the couple’s young baby with his in-laws before heading to Manchester Airport where he tried to leave the country even though he didn’t have a passport.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said Irfan eventually managed to speak to Qureshi, who worked for a Bradford firm which could arrange visas for visits to Pakistan, and the killer then travelled by train to London where arrangements had been made for him to stay with a work colleague of his cousin.

Qureshi, a 33-year-old married man who was living at the time in Kashmir Park, Halifax, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on the basis that at that stage Irfan had only told him that he had hit his wife during a row and the police would be looking for him.

But Mr Sharp said the day after Irfan fled to London murder squad detectives visited Qureshi at his work and he lied to them by saying he had not been in contact with his cousin and did not know how to get hold of him.

Judge Peter Benson said despite knowing by then what Irfan had actually done Qureshi then went to considerable lengths to assist his cousin by enabling him to get enough money to buy a ticket for a flight to Islamabad using a false passport.

When detectives spoke to Qureshi again the following day he still lied about his contact with his cousin, but it was submitted in court today/yesterday (fri) that after Irfan reached Pakistan the defendant had a change of heart and was one of the main voices in trying to persuade him to return to this country voluntarily to face the consequences.

Barrister Nicholas Worsley, for Qureshi, said his client had acted out of a misguided sense of loyalty which he deeply regretted.

Mr Worsley said Qureshi, who had been living in this country since 2004, now faced being deported as a result of his prison sentence and his entire life had crumbled as a result of his stupid actions.

Irfan voluntarily returned to this country in February 2014 and in July last year he was given a life sentence for the murder of his wife.

The court that they had had an unhappy marriage and Irfan killed her at their home in a fit of jealousy after he found a text message she had sent to her new lover.

Judge Benson told Qureshi, who has been living recently in Duchy Road, Bradford, that after the visit from the police he had been aware of the full scale of what Irfan had done and continued with arrangements which had been set in train.

The judge said the defendant had been the “prime mover” in the arrangements, but he also accepted that Qureshi may have played a part in getting Irfan to return from Pakistan last year.

Judge Benson said the case involved an offender who had committed the gravest of crimes and Qureshi’s assistance had been extensive and detailed.

After balancing all the factors in the case Judge Benson concluded that the appropriate sentence for Qureshi was 32 months in prison.