Banaz Mahmod: Five killers racked up £1million legal aid bill

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The brutal killing of the 20-year-old under her father and uncle’s orders was retold in a hard-hitting ITV drama in September. The two-part show followed the determined search for answers over Banaz’s 2006 disappearance by top detective Caroline Goode, played by Keeley Hawes. The DCI uncovered how Banaz, inset, was murdered in south London after she dared to run away from an abusive arranged marriage and fell in love with another man.

After she had been raped and strangled by three cousins recruited by her father Mahmod Babakir Mahmod and uncle Ari Mahmod, her body was put into a suitcase and buried in a garden in Birmingham.

Her father and uncle were found guilty of murder after a trial in 2007 and their legal teams cost taxpayers more than £530,000. Documents show Banaz’s father’s solicitors and barristers cost £257,818 and her uncle’s lawyers £273,866. 

Cousin Mohamad Marid Hama pleaded guilty to murder but denied taking part in the killing, claiming he only helped to bury Banaz’s body. He racked up a legal aid bill of £128,568.

Hama was recorded in prison boasting of kicking and stamping on Banaz’s neck “to get her soul out” and also talked about how he raped her.

Two other cousins, who were extradited from Iraq after fleeing the UK following Banaz’s murder, added a further £378,868 to the bill after their subsequent trials.

Mohammed Saleh Ali, who was found guilty of murder in 2010, hired a legal team which cost taxpayers £194,710.

Omar Hussain, who insisted he was not in the UK at the time of the killing, was also found guilty in 2010 and his lawyers cost £184,158. Ali, Hussain and Banaz’s father used a further £15,760 legal aid on appeal bids.

Another cousin, Dana Amin, 40, who helped dispose of Banaz’s body, was jailed for eight years in 2013.

The documents show his legal team cost taxpayers £51,290 and a further £2,100 was charged for a barrister to work on an appeal.

The figures were released after a freedom of information request by the Sunday Express.

A Legal Aid Agency spokesman said: “Criminals do not receive a penny of legal aid. This goes to legal professionals to ensure a fair trial.” “Keeley was moved to tears by playing her part in the hard-hitting drama about the killing. 

She said: “The pressure is much more than anything I’ve ever worked on before.

“We are shining a light on so-called honour killing. I hate to use the word ‘honour’ – it’s murder, it’s rape, it’s abuse.”

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