Salma Begum jailed for life for beating her teenage sister-in-law to death

Salma Begum (top left) "conditioned, punished and enslaved" Shahena Uddin in her own home. Begum's husband Suhail Uddin (top row, centre) was also convicted [Photo: Herts Police]

A woman who beat her teenage sister-in-law to death in the family home has been jailed for life.

Shahena Uddin, 19, fell unconscious after suffering 54 injuries and was left to die by choking on her own vomit in Watford in October last year.

Salma Begum, 32, denied murder but was convicted at St Albans Crown Court. She must serve a minimum of 18 years.

Four of Miss Uddin’s brothers and a sister were also jailed.

Her eldest brother, 35-year-old Suhail Uddin – Begum’s husband- was acquitted of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

He must serve a minimum of 10 years for causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult.

Three brothers were convicted of the same charge. Jhuhal Uddin, 33, was sentenced to nine years; Jewel Uddin, 27, received eight years and Tohel Uddin, 24, must serve six-and-a-half years.

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Miss Uddin’s sister, Rehena Uddin, 22, was handed a sentence of five years for the same charge.

All six defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by attempting to impede the police investigation.

Shahena Uddin (left)
Salma Begum (left) and Shahena Uddin (right)

The court heard Shahena had been under the guardianship of Suhail Uddin and his wife since she was 15 and lived in a terraced house in Leavesden Road with all five defendants.

She was force fed, slapped and beaten for eating too slowly and was often kept from using the toilet or from drinking water.

She was also made to lick the toilet seat, drink the toilet water and eat her own vomit and faeces.

The court heard how letters written by Miss Uddin to her killer revealed the power Begum had over her victim and younger girls in the family.

In one, Miss Uddin writes. “Every day I am scared and I can’t live like this any more” and in the same letter says “I will always love you but I need to go my own way. I will never forget what you… have done for me. ”

Det Insp Fraser Wylie from the Beds, Cambs and Herts major crime unit, said Ms Uddin was being “conditioned, punished and enslaved”.

“She was kept a prisoner in her own home and punished regularly… it’s just horrendous to think what she must have undergone that night,” he said.

“If she didn’t do something right she could be made to stand bent over the toilet bowl face down looking at the water for ages, for up to six or seven hours.

“It was like they whitewashed [Ms Uddin]… she was almost non-existent, whenever you spoke to the family they never mentioned her name.

In a statement, Hertfordshire County Council said: “This is an extremely tragic case and our thoughts are with Shahena’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“Hertfordshire County Council’s children’s services worked with Shahena’s family from 2000 until 2010, after which the courts granted a special guardianship order giving parental responsibility of Shahena to her brother and his wife.

“There will be a domestic homicide review into Shahena’s death next year where everything will be looked at in more detail.”

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