Birmingham & Black Country

Man jailed for stabbing pregnant girlfriend in street

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Media captionIn a witness statement outside Birmingham Crown Court, Natalie Queiroz: "I have been left devastated by the attack"

A man who tried to murder his pregnant girlfriend in a "horrifying" street attack has been jailed for 18 years.

Babur Karamat Raja, 41, repeatedly stabbed Natalie Queiroz in Sutton Coldfield town centre on 4 March.

A court heard the 40-year-old and her child were ultimately saved by the intervention of four passers-by.

Raja carried out the attack, his barrister said, because his mother "literally drove him mad" through her disapproval of the relationship.

'Saved' by breast implants

Birmingham Crown Court was told that Raja stabbed Ms Queiroz, who was eight months pregnant, after being forced to choose between his conservative Muslim mother's faith and the "love of his life".

The court heard that Ms Queiroz's breast implants "were probably what saved her life" during the frenzied assault.

Prosecuting barrister Benjamin Aina QC also said that had Raja plunged his knife just 2mm further into the abdomen of his helpless victim "it would have killed the (unborn) baby".

The court heard the child was born unharmed and was doing well.

Jane Humphryes QC said in mitigation that Raja's family turmoil "tipped him over the edge", leading to a temporary mental illness or "adjustment disorder", leaving him with little memory of what he had done.

Image caption Natalie Queiroz was stabbed 24 times by her partner in the "completely unprovoked" attack

She said: "His mother had not been happy he was in a relationship with a white woman, and told him he must leave her or she would not be in contact."

Ms Humphryes added: "This man of impeccable character is driven literally to distraction, forced by his own mother to choose between her and his chosen partner and their unborn baby."

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Queiroz said: "I am destroyed, I feel deceived and betrayed. I cry every single day.

She said there were "dark days", adding: "I find it difficult not to be in constant fear."

'Loving relationship'

Raja apologised to his victim in a letter to the judge and to those he injured as they tried to help her.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Raja pleaded guilty to attempted murder last month

Sentencing Raja for his "merciless" assault on Ms Queiroz, Judge Simon Drew QC said: "Once you chose your mother over your partner and child, you resolved not only to terminate your relationship, but to terminate them."

In a statement released following the sentencing, Ms Queiroz said: "As far as myself, our families and all our friends were concerned, Bobby and I had an exceptionally happy and loving relationship, living together and looking forward to the birth of our child - a child which he very much wanted right from the start of our relationship.

"The attack he committed on me was completely unprovoked and totally unexpected. Luckily I was saved and my baby was born alive.

"I want to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt thanks and pay tribute to the courageous people who came to the aid of myself and my unborn child, along with the West Midlands Police officers who were at the scene, the paramedics, the crew of the Midlands Air Ambulance and the staff at both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Birmingham Women's Hospital, without all of whom (my child) and I would not have survived."

Raja pleaded guilty last month to attempted murder and also admitted a charge of attempted child destruction, possession of a knife in public and the wounding and assault of two passers-by.

Image copyright Warwick Kay
Image caption Natalie Queiroz was attacked in the street in Sutton Coldfield

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