Ilford murder: Father-of-three found guilty of murdering wife while kids at school

·2-min read
Muhammad Ilyas was found guilty (Met Police)
Muhammad Ilyas was found guilty (Met Police)

A father-of-three has been found guilty of murdering his wife at their home in east London.

Muhammad Ilyas, 41, killed Maria Rafael Chavex, 32, at their home on Kingston Road in Ilford on May 13, 2021.

Police rushed to the property following concerns about her welfare but Ms Chavex was found unresponsive and later died at the scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: “Ilyas has not offered any explanation about the circumstances that led to his wife’s death and has refused to accept responsibility for her murder.

“This is a tragic case that has left three children without their parents and I’m sure what they’ve been through will remain with them for the rest of their lives. My thoughts are with them and the rest of Maria’s family and friends.”

Maria Rafael Chavez (Met Police)
Maria Rafael Chavez (Met Police)

An initial investigation found Maria hadn’t suffered any obvious injuries and there were no signs of a disturbance.

Officers arranged for a special post-mortem examination to establish how she died. The examination revealed Maria had suffered compression to her neck, likely to have been as a result of being strangled.

Homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command carried out further enquiries, which included collecting CCTV evidence and speaking to neighbours.

This information, along with the pathologist’s findings, helped officers establish that Ilyas had killed Maria during the afternoon of May 13, 2021 when the couple’s three children were at school.

Ilyas was arrested and interviewed about his involvement in Maria’s death. He denied killing Maria and told officers he believed she had died from natural causes.

The findings of the post-mortem examination disproved this.

The couple had moved the UK in 2019 and Maria was attending a college course to learn English at the time of her death. Ilyas was working on a market stall in Stratford.

Ilyas will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, July 1.

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