Man guilty of wife's hammer killing

Image caption,
Yahya Babiker was seen buying a hammer at a local DIY store

A man has been convicted of murdering his wife at their Edinburgh flat by smashing her head with a hammer.

A jury at the High Court in Perth unanimously found Yahya Babiker, 45, guilty of carrying out the attack on his wife Randa Kamblawi, 34.

The trial heard how Mrs Kamblawi's body was found in the bath of the couple's home last October.

Babiker, who claimed his wife had fallen in the bath, will be sentenced next month.

The shopfitter had gone out on the afternoon of 19 October to buy the murder weapon and was caught on CCTV spending £3.99 on a Homebase Value claw hammer.

One-way flight

He was seen trying out a crowbar for size before picking up the claw hammer and paying for it, then further CCTV images showed him returning to the flat.

The jury agreed that later that night he attacked on his wife of eight years as she lay in bed, hitting her on at least five occasions with the hammer.

Her skull was severely fractured and he dragged her body to the bathroom.

Babiker put her body into the bath and started cleaning up evidence of the attack, but the court heard he quickly gave up and decided to flee the scene.

He took the couple's two young children to the home of one of her relatives in Niddrie Mains Avenue, Edinburgh, in the early hours of 20 October and told them his wife was "tired" and unwell.

Babiker was then spotted on CCTV taking money from a cash machine before getting in a taxi to Edinburgh Airport where he tried to book a one-way flight to Paris.

However, he only had £430 in his account and was unable to pay the £565 price of an Air France flight.

Instead he paid cash for a flight to Heathrow and fled to London.

The court heard how he walked round London for several hours until he finally decided to return to Edinburgh later the same day.

Sudanese national Babiker took a bus north before handing himself in to the Royal Edinburgh psychiatric hospital and explaining that his wife's body lay in their home.

'Monstrous act'

He claimed to police that he had pushed his wife in the bath as a "joke" because the water was cold and that she had slipped and fallen and struck her head twice.

But the jury accepted the Crown's contention that Babiker had shown "evil intent" by buying the claw hammer and that the CCTV footage from Homebase was "very damning".

Lady Stacey said she could only impose a life sentence, but the recommended minimum custodial period would be decided after reports had been prepared.

Babiker will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on 29 June.

Det Insp Gary Cunningham, who led the murder investigation, said: "Yahya Babiker killed his wife in a brutal and premeditated attack, which took place without warning. He then tried to cover his tracks, but was undone by the overwhelming evidence against him."

He said he hoped the verdict would provide some solace to the family of Randa Kamblawi and that the force's thoughts were with their two young children who had been robbed of a mother by this "monstrous act".

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