Murder of Brierfield girl: jury hears judge’s summing up

THE judge in the trial of the man accused of murdering former Brierfield teenager Asha Muneer has begun her final summing up to the jury at Reading Crown Court.

In his closing address, Mr John Price (prosecuting) told jurors the man accused of her murder, Gulamyr Akhter, had lied repeatedly and said: “There is not a single important fact in this case about which he has not lied. Just think about that.

“He has lied about where he was when she died. He has lied about when he last saw her. He has lied about when he last spoke to her. He has lied about what they spoke about. He has lied about the telephone. He has lied about the history of their relationship.”

Mr Price admitted any individual fact in the case against Akhter could be written off as “coincidence”, but said the jury must consider all the facts together, including evidence they had heard about the alleged murder weapon seeming to be part of a set found at Akhter’s house; the history of their relationship including violent and manipulative behaviour by Akhter; CCTV images taken before and after the murder showing a man speaking on and looking at his mobile phone at times that tally with Akhter’s mobile records; the lies Akhter told police; the confessions his friends told the jury Akhter made; a fire which the prosecution say Akhter lit to burn evidence and the fact Asha clearly knew her killer, judging by how she reacted to him in CCTV images and because nothing was stolen in the attack.

He suggested the jury could almost picture Asha trying to placate Akhter as she realised he was going to kill her, and using the words: “I thought we were going to get married and have kids.”

Closing the case for the defence, Mr Malcolm Swift told the jury there are explicable reasons why Akhter had lied to the police.

But Mr Swift said: “There is no DNA link between the murder and defendant, absolutely nothing. No blood, no skin, no DNA fragments or bodily fluids, nothing. No DNA on any of her possessions, bearing in mind someone had been through them. No fingerprints on the petrol nozzle or the burn site materials.

“Remember the behaviour of the defendant that night - normal. Not indicative of someone carrying out something as dreadful as this.”

He added: “Bear in mind this is a one-sided battle. It is the state against Gulamyr Akhter with all the resources of the police and prosecution services on the one side. He starts with a disadvantage.

“He was in the area, he planned to meet her and there is a history between them. He was an obvious target. Once the circumstantial idea is planted in your mind, it’s not so easy to uproot but I would ask you to concentrate on the evidence you would expect in a case like this.”

He added: “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time but our submission to you is that does not mean that he is guilty.”