A heavily pregnant woman was shot dead with an arrow allegedly by her jealous ex-husband in a “deliberate and calculated act of revenge” last November at her east London home, a court was told.
According to prosecutors, 51-year-old Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, armed with two crossbows, burst out of the garden shed at a suburban home in Ilford area of east London, and shot arrows at his ex-wife Devi Unmathallegadoo as she tried to flee upstairs.
The 35-year-old Devi, also known as Sana Muhammad after she converted to Islam to marry Imtiaz Muhammad, died of internal injuries after the attack.
The arranged marriage of Devi and Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo ended in divorce in 2014, after which the woman went on to marry Imtiaz.
She had three children, aged 18, 14 and 12, with Ramanodge and two young girls, aged five and two, with Muhammad. Her unborn baby was later rescued by doctors in an emergency Caesarean operation following the attack.
Ramanodge, who had been arrested and charged soon after the attack, denies the murder and attempted destruction of the unborn child as his trial got underway at the Old Bailey court in London this week.
“This was a quite deliberate and calculated act of revenge on his part intended to cause at the very least the death of Devi and the extinction of the child she carried,” Prosecutor Peter Wright told the jury on Tuesday.
At the time of the attack in November last year, neighbours heard Imtiaz screaming for help outside the house and described seeing a 30-cm-long crossbow being carried out of the home by police officers as evidence.
It emerged in court that the accused had gathered a cache of weapons and tools in preparation for the attack, including two new crossbows, bolts, a hammer, a knife in a homemade sheath, cable ties and duct tape.
The prosecution claims that Ramanodge, a former hospital site manager, planned to restrain his ex-wife and her husband and then kill them and their unborn child.
However, he was disturbed when Imtiaz took a box to store in the shed and discovered his hiding spot which ended in him running into the house, the jury was told.
“Imtiaz saw the defendant, who was at the bottom of the stairs, shoot Devi who was halfway up the stairs. The effect on her was immediate and she fell to the floor, said Wright.
The court heard that after the attacker was restrained and disarmed by two of his older children, he told them: “It would have been easier if you guys weren’t here, like I would have done it.”
Ramanodge later claimed he had shot his former wife by accident and had intended to kill only Imtiaz. However, the prosecution claims that the evidence will show that that his ex-wife was the “principal target”.
The trial is ongoing and expected to conclude in the coming weeks.