"Violent" husband donned clothing of murdered Teesside wife to deceive family she was still alive, court told

The Northern Echo: Body still missing: Rania Alayed Body still missing: Rania Alayed

A ''violent and controlling'' husband lured his North-East wife to her death before donning her clothing as part of a bid to deceive her family and friends that she was still alive, a court heard.

Mother-of-three Rania Alayed, 25, went to drop off her children at the flat of the defendant's brother where she was said to have been murdered.

Her brother-in-law Muhaned Al-Khatib, 38, left the address with the children some 45 minutes later and shortly after her husband, Ahmed Al-Khatib, 35, walked out wearing some of her traditional clothing with a suitcase containing her corpse, a jury at Manchester Crown Court was told.

It is alleged that in the early hours of the next day the two brothers, and another sibling, drove the body from the Manchester area to North Yorkshire where she was buried.

The body of Syrian-born Ms Alayed, who previously lived in Norton, Stockton, and in Middlesbrough, has not been found 10 months after she was last seen on June 7 last year, the jury heard.

Extensive searches have been carried out along a 19 mile stretch of the A19 north and south of Thirsk.

The prosecution say the marriage was ''marred by violence'' from Ahmed Al-Khatib and that Ms Alayed had 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.

Tony Cross QC, prosecuting, said: ''The family of the defendants were insulted that she had gone to the law. They wanted her and her children back within the family fold.

''They believed that she was establishing an independent life, perhaps with another man. Therefore it was decided that she should either be forced to comply or be killed.''

Muhaned Al-Khatib arranged for her to drop her children off at his flat in Arthur Millwood Court, Salford, on the pretence they would spend the weekend with their father, the court heard.

The prosecutor said: ''There the first defendant lay in wait for her. Within the hour of her arrival she was dead and a deception began to hide the murder.''

Ahmed Al-Khatib, from Knutsford Road, Gorton, later admitted causing his wife's death as he told psychiatrists that he pushed her to the ground and she banged her head.

Mr Cross said: ''He denies any intention to kill her. He says that at the time he did that he was suffering from an abnormality of the mind, that he was possessed of a spirit which caused him to do what he did.''

Muhaned Al-Khatib said he was not present at the time that any violence was used against Ms Alayed and did not bear any responsibility for her murder, the prosecutor added.

Both men deny murder but 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, of Knutsford Road, Gorton, denies the latter charge.

The case continues.

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