Family's pain after killer jailed

Witney Gazette: Reema Ramza was still alive when her boyfriend started to cut off her head with a knife Reema Ramza was still alive when her boyfriend started to cut off her head with a knife

The family of a teenager who was beheaded by her boyfriend have spoken of their pain after her killer was jailed for life for murder.

Aras Hussein, 21, began to decapitate Reema Ramzan, 18, with a kitchen knife while she was still alive.

He then stabbed himself in the chest, removed his clothes and went outside his flat in Herries Road, Shirecliffe in Sheffield.

He was seen by a neighbour, naked, holding a wad of money and a passport, and covered in blood.

Hussein admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder at his trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

The jury of eight women and four men found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years.

Miss Ramzan's family said in a statement released by the police after the verdict: "Words cannot describe the pain we feel not having her here.

"Reema was not just a beautiful girl to look at, she was a beautiful girl inside; so kind and helpful, she was always smiling and we loved her so much. We couldn't have wished for a more loving and caring daughter and sister."

Detective superintendent Phil Etheridge of South Yorkshire Police, who investigated the case, said: "This is an incredibly sad and heartbreaking case and my deepest sympathies are with Reema's family and friends.

"Reema was a kind and considerate young woman who had a bright and promising future to look forward to. Regrettably, her life was taken far too soon and in such tragic circumstances.

"This has been a difficult investigation however I am satisfied with the verdict today and I hope it provides some form of closure for Reema's family."

The body of Miss Ramzan was found in the kitchen of Iraqi-born Hussein's flat on June 4 last year. She had been stabbed in the chest and decapitated.

Prosecutor Graham Reeds QC told the jury Miss Ramzan was still alive when the defendant started to sever her head from her body and that "severe force" would have been required.

Mr Reeds said: "Bruising into tissue wounds suggest that Reema was still alive as the defendant started to remove her head.

"The process of decapitation would require considerable motion with corresponding considerable force which needed to be sustained until all the tissues had been cut through.

"Severe force would have been needed to cut through the spinal vertebrae with a knife in order to remove the head."

He said a neighbour of Hussein's heard a woman "screaming for dear life" that afternoon, and that the defendant told emergency workers who came to his aid: "I don't know why I did it."

He said Hussein told the paramedics: "She liked me but I raped her. What I did was wrong. I need punishing for it."

And he told them: "Why are you helping me? I've murdered someone."

Miss Ramzan was studying health and social care at Sheffield City College and lived in Darnall, Sheffield with her family who, the court was told, disapproved of the couple's relationship.

During the trial, the jury heard how on one occasion Hussein had threatened to show the victim's family sexual pictures he had taken of her if she broke up with him.

Mr Reeds outlined another incident when Miss Ramzan's brother Sohail argued with the defendant after spotting red marks around his sister's neck.

Hussein's lawyers said he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the attack due to schizophrenia, but the prosecution rejected this defence, and said Hussein had no history of mental illness.

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