A pizza shop owner has been convicted of murdering his wife and burying her body in an unmarked grave that police did not discover for more than six months, despite extensive searches.
Nezam Salangy, 44, was found guilty at Worcester crown court of killing 28-year-old Zobaidah Salangy, his wife of eight years, on 28 March 2020 then burying her in woodland near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, under cover of darkness.
Zobaidah’s body was missed by police during an initial search of the area in April 2020 as they failed to dig deep enough, the court heard. As a result of the delay, it was impossible to determine the exact cause of her death, the prosecution said.
Salangy’s younger brothers, Mohammed Yasin Salangi, 34, and 31-year-old Mohammed Ramin Salangy, were convicted alongside him of helping to cover up the crime.
The younger brother traveled 90 miles by taxi from his and Yasin’s home in Cardiff to help bury the victim.
Yasin assisted in the crime by covering up knowledge of the killing and the unmarked burial, proved by telephone evidence.
Nezam Salangy later reported his wife missing to police, telling them “she had gone out for a run and never come back”, after leaving him for a “new boyfriend”, prosecutors said.
As he left the dock accompanied by security guards, Nezam Salangy stared for several seconds at six West Mercia police detectives who had conducted the investigation, telling them: “You guys framed me”.
One of his brothers, as he was led down the stairs to the court cells, said: “That’s the wrong decision.”
Shortly after the three men were led downstairs, the court security alarm was triggered. None had chosen to give evidence during the trial.
During the six-week trial, the court heard that after Nezam Salangy was arrested on 4 April 2020, he told officers he “was confident his wife was still alive and would return home”.
During an initial search of woodland near the Worcestershire village of Lower Bentley, police mistook “a hard layer of soil that they reached to be a natural base below which no one would dig”, prosecuting barrister Simon Denison QC said.
They abandoned the search but, “convinced she must be there”, returned to the spot in October 2020 and found Zobaidah’s body bound in curtain wire and wrapped in black bin bags and a duvet cover that matched pillow cases found at the couple’s house in Bromsgrove .
The prosecution told jurors that on 27 March, the day before Zobaidah’s disappearance, the couple had “argued bitterly” and that part of the row was video recorded by Nezam Salangy on his phone.
In the recording, both said “that their relationship was over”. The prosecuting barrister, Simon Denison QC, said “Zobaidah Salangy vanished off the face of the earth” the next day.
Jurors heard Zobaidah had been a maths teacher in Afghanistan and that her November 2012 nuptials to Nezam Salangy, then already living in the UK, had been an arranged marriage.
She moved to the UK in October 2013 to live with Nezam Salangy, and was attending English classes at a night school twice a week, intending to either resume maths teaching or become a midwife.
Nezam Salangy, Yasin Salangi and Ramin Salangy will be sentenced in June.