Police have started to dig for the remains of a mother who was murdered by her husband in a 'honour killing' a decade ago.Rania Alayed, 25, was killed
Police have started to dig for the remains of a mother who was murdered by her husband in a ‘honour killing’ a decade ago.
Rania Alayed, 25, was killed by her husband Ahmed Al-Khatib in 2013 after he lured his estranged wife to her death as part of an ‘honour killing’ and then wore her clothes to convince her family and friends she was still alive.
After killing Syrian-born mother-of-three, Al-Khatib, who fled the Middle East for Britain, drove her to the North Yorkshire area and buried her – and her body was never found.
However, Greater Manchester Police are now digging for her body after receiving new information that her body could be near the A19 near Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
The force is using a digger and team of officers and a cadaver dog in order to find Ms Alyed’s remains, the Mirror reports.
Rania Alayed (left), 25, was killed by her husband Ahmed Al-Khatib (right) in 2013 after he lured his estranged wife to her death as part of an ‘honour killing’
Police searching for Rania Alayed on the A19 in Thirsk, Yorkshire on August 15, 2013
Disguise: CCTV footage of Ahmed in Mrs Alayed’s jeans and headscarf
As Al-Khatib, then-35, was convicted for murder and sentenced to life with a maximum of 20 years in prison in June 2014, police had yet to find the site where the Ms Alayed was buried despite numerous searches.
He admitted killing her but claimed he pushed her to the floor and she banged her head after she appeared to him in the form of an evil spirit.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Greater Manchester Police are carrying out a detailed search in relation to recovering the body of Rania Alayed.
‘Following new information for a non-recent investigation, GMP’s Major Incident Team have been authorised to begin looking at land on the side of the A19 near Thirsk.
‘Officers will be on location to carry out a thorough search of the area identified and will keep disruption to the local community to a minimum, with no wider risk or threat to the public.
‘GMP remain committed to finding Rania and will act on all available lines of enquiry when it is possible to do so to help bring some form of closure to her loved ones ten years on.’
After Al-Khatib’s conviction, a police officer called the ‘honour killing’ a ‘horrific act of self-pity’, adding that ‘male “pride” clearly could not take a strong woman trying to determine her own fate’.
Manchester Crown Court heard the marriage was ‘marred by violence’ and that Ms Alayed, who previously lived near Middlesbrough, left him after years of serious domestic violence.
She feared for her life and had sought help from the Citizens Advice Bureau, the police and eventually a solicitor – which had angered her husband’s family.
The defendant’s brother Muhaned Al-Khatib, 38, said he was not present at the time that any violence was used against Ms Alayed in his flat and did not bear any responsibility for her murder.
He was cleared by the jury of that charge. Both he and Ahmed Al-Khatib, of the Gorton area of the city, had pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice by transporting and concealing the body of Ms Alayed.
A third brother, Hussain Al-Khatib, 34, also of Gorton, was found guilty by the jury of intending to pervert the course of justice.
Muhaned Al-Khatib was jailed for three years, while Hussain Al-Khatib was imprisoned for four years.
Brothers: Muhaned Al-Khatib (left) pleaded guilty perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to three years in prison, while Hussain Al-Khateeb (right) was convicted of the same charge and was sentenced to four years
Ms Alayed’s body was in a suitcase which was later moved to Muhaned Al-Khatib’s motorhome, which travelled towards the North East in the early hours of the next day
Police outside a house on Knutsford Road in Gorton, Manchester in connection with the murder of Rania Alayed after her death
Opening the case, Tony Cross QC, prosecuting, said Ahmed Al-Khatib said he had been ‘commanded’ to bury his wife by the djinn, a demonic spirit in Islamic folklore, but the Crown rejected his defence of diminished responsibility as lies.
The defendant said he went on to bury her between trees near to the A19 in Thirsk.
He had lured his wife to her death on the pretence that she would drop off their children at the home of his brother to spend the weekend with him. Her brother-in-law left the address with the children some 45 minutes later and shortly after her husband walked out wearing her clothing.
Ms Alayed’s body was in a suitcase which was later moved to Muhaned Al-Khatib’s motorhome, which travelled towards the North East in the early hours of the next day.
The jury was told that telephone, Facebook and message services were deployed to pretend to others that Ms Alayed was still alive.
Ahmed Al-Khatib was arrested on July 4 and made no complaint of any mental illness, the court heard.
He told police the relationship had been trouble-free until January last year when his wife rang police about a row when he had taken her phone.
He said he had seen pictures of his wife in underwear. Detectives were told he had not seen her since April and he had tried to contact her 30 times but believed her to be in Turkey or Syria.
Mr Cross told the jury: ‘Quite plainly, ladies and gentlemen, the majority of these facts were lies. He knew full well. He had killed her.’
The next day, Muhaned Al-Khatib told police that Ms Alayed was not alive and she was buried at the side of a layby on the A19. He denied helping his brother to bury her or murder her and said he had not seen her body.’
He added: ‘The court heard he agreed to show police where her grave was but the location could not be found.
After Al-Khatib’s conviction, Greater Manchester Police said the search for Ms Alayed’s body would go on. At the time, GMP had scoured a number of lay-bys on a 15-mile stretch of the A19 with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police and the military.
Rania left the family home in Longsight, Manchester with the children to move to a hostel and later in May 2013 rented a property in Cheetham Hill and filed for divorce.
She had also formed a relationship with a married man she met through an internet site.
Rania was last seen alive on June 7 last year when she met a friend in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens and told of a plan to drop off her three children with her estranged husband via Muhaned’s flat for the weekend.
That evening at around 8pm she was killed at the apartment after Muhaned’s partner was told to stay away due to a ‘family meeting.’
Later Rania’s body was driven away in Muhned’s camper van and at 3am the following morning, the Leyland DAF 200 vehicle was spotted parked in a layby on the A19 by an HGV driver.
Three hours later the camper van broke down and an AA man described the smell inside the vehicle as a ‘rancid stench’.
Another man said of Al-Khatib, Muhned and a third brother Hussain, 34, who was also in the vehicle: ‘All three stunk, smelt dirty and looked like they had just run a marathon.’