A pizza shop owner has been jailed for life after killing his wife and leaving her body in an unmarked grave for nearly seven months.
Nezam Salangy, 44, told officers that his wife Zobaidah Salangy, 28, had ‘gone for a run and never came back’ when quizzed over her disappearance.
He was found guilty of murdering his partner of eight years at Worcester Crown Court, and was today jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years before being considered for parole.
Salangy attacked his wife on March 29 2020, before burying her in woodland near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, under the cover of darkness.
But bungling police failed to discover her body until more than six months later, and then charged her husband in connection with her death.
Salangy’s younger brothers Mohammed Yasin, 34, and 31-year-old Mohammed Ramin Salangy, who worked in another pizza shop, were also convicted alongside their older brother of helping him to cover up the crime.
Mohammed Ramin received a sentence of six years and Mohammed Yasin was handed four years and nine months in prison for their parts in the murder.
Nezam Salangy, 44, was today jailed for a minimum of 18 years for murdering his wife Zobaidah Salangy, 28, pictured, on March 29 2020, then burying her in woodland near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, under the cover of darkness. Her body was found in October 2020, bound in curtain wire and wrapped in bin bags with a duvet cover matching pillow cases found in the couple’s home
Ramin travelled 90 miles by cab from his and Yasin’s home in Adamscroft Place, Cardiff, Wales, to help bury the victim.
The court was told that Mohammed Yasin Salangi got involved in covering up Zobaidah’s death due to ‘pressure from family and misplaced loyalty to his eldest brother’.
None of the defendants gave evidence in their defence and the 11 jurors reached their guilty verdicts in just under 14 hours.
Zobaidah had told family she was going jogging during lockdown on 28 March, when the UK had just entered a nation-wide lockdown after the outbreak of Covid-19.
After she failed to return, Salangy, of Talbot Road, Bromsgrove, reported his wife missing to police, telling them ‘she had gone out for a run and never come back’, after leaving him for a ‘new boyfriend’, prosecutors said.
After nearly seven months after she went missing, West Mercia Police officers had discovered Zobaidah’s body in Copyholt Lane, Bromsgrove on 16 October 2020.
Her body was found just 2.8 miles away, a seven minute drive, from where Salangy lived in Talbot Road.
The pair wed under an arranged marriage in Afghanistan in November 2012, where Zobaidah was a maths teacher, before they moved to the UK in 2013.
The trial heard Zobaidah and Salangy had ‘argued bitterly’ the day before she disappeared on 28 March 2020.
When her body was found, it had been bound in curtain wire and wrapped in bin bags with a duvet cover which later matched pillow cases found in the couple’s home.
Timothy Hannam QC, defending the Salangy argued that Zobaidah’s death was not ‘planned or premeditated’.
He told the court: ‘Nezam has exhibited great resilience in surviving the attentions of the Taliban and mujahideen.
‘He was carving out a life for himself here and home which he and his family could be proud.
‘It’s a tragedy for all concerned for Zobaidah’s family, his family, him and his brothers for what could have been a positive and long life working for others has been damaged irreparably.’
But Judge Nicholas Hilliard told the defendants: ‘All three defendants have come to this country in difficult circumstances and made efforts to establish themselves but have thrown it away by what’s happened.’
Condemning aspects of the case as a ‘shameful’ attempt to create a false trail, the judge told Salangy: ‘It’s plain that the marriage had been unhappy for some time.
‘I am sure that you had been violent to her, slapping her on occasions with an open hand and pulling her hair, which made her cut it short.
‘Zobaidah had contemplated taking her own life and it is desperately sad that it had come to that.
‘It’s clear that the relationship had completely broken down. I am sure you intended to kill her.’
Salangy gained asylum status in the UK in 2002 when he was 24 after leaving Afghanistan to flee the Taliban and mujahideen
Husband Salangy’s pizza shop, Prego Pizza on Austin Road in Bromsgrove (pictured), became part of the crime scene after police found her phone hidden behind other items and wrapped in bubble wrap on a high shelf in the shop
The court heard that he left Afghanistan and was trafficked across land and sea through a ‘perilous’ journey to successfully gain asylum in the UK.
Paying tribute to Zobaidah, her family said: ‘Zobaidah was a kind mother to her children and a responsible wife to her husband.
‘During contact with the family, her sadness and suffering was obvious. She would say everything is fine and I’m taking care of the children.
‘Zobaidah studied in the most difficult conditions in Afghanistan and was accepted to college with high grades.
‘She had many aspirations for Afghanistan and the UK. She was very brutally taken from us and her children.
‘We will suffer with this for the rest of our lives. This pain, suffering and misery will never go away but what may decrease our pain is if justice is served. Justice may bring comfort to all of us.’
They added that she loved people of all colours, races and beliefs and wanted to start a career as a health professional.
Opening the prosecution’s case at the start of the six-week trial which ended today, Simon Denison QC said it was an ‘unfortunate fact’ of the case Mrs Salangy’s body was initially missed by police, when a first dig at the site near the Worcestershire village of Lower Bentley took place in April 2020.
As a result of the six-and-a-half month gap between her death and her body being discovered, a cause of death could not be found.
Police returned to the spot in October 2020, ‘convinced’ that she must be there, which is when they found her body buried in woodland at the fork of the road between Copyholt Lane and Black Lake Lane in Bromsgrove (pictured)
Mr Denison added: ‘They mistook a hard layer of soil that they reached to be a natural base below which no-one would dig.
‘So they abandoned the search there and they didn’t find the body at that stage.’
Police returned to the spot in October 2020, ‘convinced’ that she must be there, which is when they found her body buried in woodland at the fork of the road between Copyholt Lane and Black Lake Lane in Bromsgrove.
Husband Salangy’s pizza shop, Prego Pizza on Austin Road in Bromsgrove, became part of the crime scene after police found her phone hidden behind other items and wrapped in bubble wrap on a high shelf in the shop.
There was also a second device found, which was believed to have been used to arrange to hide her body with his brothers.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Peters, of West Mercia Police, said after the case: ‘Nezam Salangy committed a horrific crime, brutally murdering his wife and burying her body to try to cover up his actions.
‘I am glad that he will now pay the price for that and spend the next 18 years in prison.
‘Yasin and Ramin Salangi knew they were doing wrong helping their brother and they too have been served the justice they deserve.
‘The other victims in this case are the children who have now lost both parents and my thoughts are with them and wider family members.’