An obsessed stalker, Muhammad Arslan, has been convicted of murdering 21-year-old student Hina Bashir after she rejected his advances.
Arslan, 27, from Ilford, was found unanimously guilty of murdering 21-year-old Bashir following a trial at the Old Bailey which concluded yesterday.
He was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, who led the investigation, said: “Arslan was obsessed with Hina to the point that he told people they were engaged and said they should have children together. This relationship was completely in his mind.
“Our investigation showed that Arslan was unable to live with the fact Hina did not want to be with him. It was this rejection that tragically led to her death.
“Once Arslan had murdered Hina he did everything he could to cover his tracks but the evidence gathered by our team left no doubt in our mind as to his guilt. We are pleased the jury felt the same way and our thoughts now continue to remain with Hina’s family and friends who are dealing with an incomprehensible loss.”
Hina and Arslan had both grown up in Pakistan where they lived close by. In November 2021, Hina moved to London to study. They remained in touch and Arslan arrived in the UK in February 2022. He repeatedly contacted Hina, declaring his love and calling her his fiancée, despite her making clear she did not want to be with him.
On July 11, 2022, Hina had gone to Arslan’s house to pick up some belongings he had let her leave there when she was moving from one flat to another.
A friend accompanied her to the address but waited outside before leaving after some time, without Hina.
Over the next few days, when phone calls and messages to Hina continued to go unanswered, her friends reported her missing to police. Local officers began a missing person’s enquiry but quickly became concerned as to the circumstances of her disappearance and called in detectives from Specialist Crime.
On July 15, 2022, the team spoke to Arslan at his home address, knowing Hina had been there the night she went missing. He admitted that she had been to collect her belongings but had left shortly afterwards and had not heard from her since.
Despite no body being found, he was arrested the same afternoon.
The next day, officers retraced Arslan’s route to his place of work in Upminster, where they found CCTV showing him wheeling a heavy suitcase. A search of the nearby area found the padlocked case hidden in undergrowth on Folkes Lane. Inside, Hina’s body was found.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Hina had died as a result of a foreign object blocking her airway; a screwed-up face mask was found inside her mouth.
The police investigation found extensive evidence proving Arslan was responsible for killing Hina. Not only was there clear footage of him wheeling the same suitcase, but his DNA was also found on the handle.
A search of his bedroom found Hina’s blood on his duvet, while his trainers contained soil matching the soil where the suitcase was found.
Specialist officers also examined Arslan’s phone and found a large number of photos and collages of Hina, some of which he had edited to include love hearts. There were also messages suggesting he was trying to get in touch with her by pretending to be a woman.
DCI Whellams, added: “Hina was the second young woman to be killed in the space of a month. Her murder, and that of Zara Aleena had a significant impact on the local communities and beyond. The Met remains determined to tackle violence against women and girls.”
Arslan will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on a date to be set.