Sabah Khan has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years after murdering her sister in a pre-planned and frenzied attack..
Khan pleaded guilty to the murder of her sister 34-year-old Saima Khan at their home in Overstone Road, Luton, in May 2016, on the first day of her trial at the Old Bailey on Tuesday. She was today handed a sentence of life behind bars, and ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years.
The court was told Sabah Khan “had been in a sexual relationship” with her sister’s husband and wanted him for herself.
Taking advantage of an unexpected family funeral, Sabah lured her sister back to the house they shared on the evening of 23 May on the pretext her children were unsettled, before using the opportunity to brutally murder her.
The 27-year-old calmly removed her blood-stained clothing and protective gloves before concealing them in a bin bag with the bloodied knife and hid it in her bedroom. She then staged a burglary and delivered a false, though well-rehearsed version of events in which she repeatedly claimed no involvement in the death – a claim which caused significant alarm and unrest within the community.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Saima showed the mother-of-four suffered numerous traumatic injuries that led to her death, including 68 stab wounds. The sheer number of her injuries meant all individual wounds could not be counted.
Detective Chief Inspector Adam Gallop, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, led a team which produced overwhelming evidence which disproved her lies, no matter how polished, leaving Sabah no option but to admit the vicious attack.
The team unpicked the case and found that Sabah had spent months researching online ways to kill someone including poisoning, hiring a killer and buying poisonous snakes. Sabah paid substantial sums of money seeking online advice and guidance on how to rid herself of her sister.
The night of the killing Sabah also took to the internet to search ‘how long does a Muslim funeral take’, clearly identifying her window of opportunity.
Strong forensic evidence undermined Sabah’s story by placing her in close proximity to the glass in the back door at the time it was smashed. Tiny fragments were identified on the clothing she had discarded in the bin bag next to her bed, together with the murder weapon.
Just days before, she purchased the knife from a supermarket and kept it in its packaging until using it to inflict such horrific injuries that Saima had no chance of survival. CCTV footage was obtained from the store showing the moment she bought the murder weapon.
Detective Chief Inspector Adam Gallop, senior investigating officer in the case, said: “The exceptional work of all involved from first responders through to the search teams and painstaking forensic work ensured there was no stone left unturned.
“This was a brutal act of jealousy. It was not a case of honour killing, nor was this the burglary that Sabah Khan tried so hard to create. Sabah wanted her sister’s life. She wanted her children and her husband. Hearing the news that they were planning to leave the family home together was the final straw and she took her sister’s life in a bitter envy.
“Everyone working on this case has struggled to comprehend the extent of the force used and injuries sustained at the hands of this young woman’s own sister. These actions can only be fuelled by a deep level of hatred; hatred that had been concealed from the rest of the family.
“I am pleased that the sentence reflects the pre-meditated actions that cut short a young woman’s life and deprived four young children of growing up with their mother.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing the case to resolution, and the local residents and community for their patience in this complex and difficult investigation.”