An obsessed man has been found guilty of shooting his heavily pregnant ex-wife dead with a crossbow.
Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, burst into the home of mother-of-five Devi Muhammad, formerly known as Unmathallegadoo, and fired an arrow into her stomach as she fled upstairs.
Mrs Muhammad, 35, suffered catastrophic internal injuries and died while her unborn son was delivered by Caesarean section and miraculously survived.
The court had heard how the victim had an arranged marriage to the defendant in Mauritius on her 16th birthday. He was 30 at the time, nearly twice her age.
Their unhappy relationship ended in 2012 after an incident in which she jumped out of an upstairs window and broke her ankle.
She had told police the defendant had stared at her as he sharpened knives in the garden.
After a trial in 2013, he was cleared of attacking her and acquitted on the judge’s direction of a charge of attempted strangulation under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.
The victim successfully filed for an emergency non-molestation order which barred the defendant from coming within 100 metres of the family home in Ilford, east London.
Under the order, which was still in place at the time of the killing, Unmathallegadoo was forbidden from contacting his ex-wife directly and was not to threaten or intimidate her or their three children.
Following her divorce, she married builder Imtiaz Muhammad and changed her name to Sana Muhammad.
The couple went on to have two children together and were eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of their third last autumn.
Meanwhile, the defendant lost his job as a site manager at Newham General Hospital and slept rough as he plotted to destroy the couple’s lives.
He bought two crossbows online for about £250 each – an MK-XB 55 Package Red Dot and a Hori-Zone Alfa XT – which were discovered stashed near his ex-wife’s home by a neighbour in March 2018.
After they were removed, Unmathallegadoo set about replacing them, and organised surveillance on the house in Applegarth Drive.
On the morning of November 12, 2018, he took up position in the garden shed armed with two crossbows, bolts, a knife, duct tape, cable ties and a hammer.
He was disturbed by the victim’s new husband, who had gone into the garden to store an empty box while his wife prepared food for a dinner party that evening.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Muhammad told jurors he thought he was “dreaming” when his wife’s ex-husband emerged armed with two loaded crossbows.
He called for his wife to run as he was chased into the house, the court was told.
The widower became emotional as he told jurors: “When she got an arrow she just screamed. I was thinking: ‘What is happening?’ I was screaming for her.
“Then from there, because he had a second crossbow on his shoulder, I was thinking: ‘He’s used one and now the second one might be for me.’”
As Unmathallegadoo’s oldest children rushed in to disarm him, the defendant said: “It would have been easier if you guys weren’t here, like I would have done it.”
Afterwards, he told police he was aiming for Muhammad, but his former spouse got in the way.
Giving evidence, he claimed the crossbow went off by accident and he bought the weapons to go hunting in Mauritius with his brother.
He told jurors he only wanted to confront Muhammad about his concerns that his daughter was being brought up as a Muslim.
But the prosecution argued Unmathallegadoo’s ultimate plan had been to restrain the couple and their children and at least kill the two adults and their unborn child.
The jury in Unmathallegadoo’s first trial was discharged after a juror asked whether the defendant had been suffering from a psychiatric illness, against the judge’s direction not to speculate and despite no evidence being heard about his mental state.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.