Tayside and Central Scotland

Man guilty of murdering ex-wife in Stirling salon fire

Khayatzadeh Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Ahdieh Khayatzadeh died following a fire at the Venus Hair and Beauty salon in Stirling

A man has been found guilty of burning his ex-wife to death after dousing her with petrol in her hair salon.

Ahdieh Khayatzadeh suffered severe burns in the attack by Ahmad Yazdanparast at the salon in Stirling.

Ms Khayatzadeh, 46, told a paramedic before she died that her 61-year-old ex-husband had carried out the attack because she had divorced him.

Deferring sentence for reports, Lady Wise told Yazdanparast that he would face a life sentence for the murder.

Yazdanparast had lodged a special defence claiming he acted in self-defence after being assaulted.

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Media captionFootage released by the Crown Office shows Ahmad Yazdanparast buying petrol then entering his ex-wife's salon and leaving after setting it on fire

During the attack on 12 October last year, he scattered cards, bearing hand-written messages in English and Farsi reading "enough is enough" and "game is over" and accusing his ex-wife of committing adultery, around the Venus Hair and Beauty Salon in Stirling.

He then poured petrol over Ms Khayatzadeh's head and body and set fire to her, suffering burns himself.

Death threats

She died at Forth Valley Royal Hospital the same day, after telling paramedic Steven Morgan that Yazdanparast had done it because she divorced him.

The kebab shop owner had a previous conviction for attacking his wife, and she had previously contacted police over threats he made to kill her and pour acid over her face.

The couple, who are originally from Iran, separated in 2010 before divorcing last year.

Yazdanparast told the court that his wife was becoming "westernised", adding: "In this country divorce is quicker than getting a driving licence. That's not right."

During the divorce proceedings last year he was found in contempt of court after screaming, ranting and wailing, conduct a judge at Stirling Sheriff Court described as "bizarre".

The couple had been caught up in a further legal fight over a flat that was meant to be sold as part of the divorce, and Yazdanparast was due back in court the week after the murder.

He claimed that on the day of the fatality, Ms Khayatzadeh had blown him a kiss and mouthed the word "milk", and said the container he was seen carrying into her salon contained milk.

However detectives found traces of petrol on his victim's clothing and on a piece of plastic in the basement salon - hours after Yazdanparast had been seen buying fuel from a local petrol station.

Image caption Forensics specialists found petrol at the scene of the fire

Yazdanparast also claimed his wife had thrown something at him, and that he had felt a burning sensation.

Firefighters who brought Ms Khayatzadeh out of the building alive said she was in "horrendous" condition, so badly burned that they couldn't tell if she was male or female, and "very much conscious".

Yazdanparast claimed that his former wife had been having an affair with Iranian Yaser Furughirad. But Mr Furughirad, 31, who worked at a bed and breakfast premises owned by the couple, denied this and said he was "just a friend" to the victim.

'Horrific attack'

One of the couple's twin daughters Glara, 21, told her father's trial: "I know 100 per cent there was absolutely no relationship. It's an excuse.

"There was no relationship and he knew that."

Judge Lady Wise told Yazdanparast he had been found guilty by a majority verdict of "a horrific attack" after "a very serious and distressing case", adding that the only sentence for murder was life imprisonment.

However, she adjourned sentencing until later this month for background reports, as she is required to set a minimum term before the 61-year-old becomes eligible for parole.

After he was convicted Yazdanparast said: "Thank you very much."

Det Insp Bryan Burns, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: "The horrific nature and consequences of this crime has had an immeasurable impact on Ahdeih's family and I would like to praise their strength, courage and support during the investigation."

Following her death, Ms Khayatzadeh's family said a "huge void" had been left in their lives.

They described her as a "wonderful woman who was devoted to her family and spent every spare minute she could with them".

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