Crime Files Network

Archive for June, 2014


Pakistani police denied negligence on Saturday over their failure to stop the bludgeoning to death of a woman outside a courthouse, describing it as a simple murder case despite a chorus of global condemnation.

Farzana Parveen died after she was set upon by more than two dozen attackers armed with bricks outside Lahore’s High Court on Tuesday, including numerous relatives, for marrying against her family’s wishes.

Police were present at the scene but did not stop the mob killing Parveen, who was three months pregnant.

Parveen’s father Mohammad Azeem was detained at the scene of the attack. Four others, including an uncle, two of her cousins, and a driver were arrested late Thursday.

Senior officer Zulfiqar Hameed defended his men’s actions, saying one had snatched a gun from an attacker, but claimed the mob was too large for police to stop the killing. He also blamed foreign media for their “inaccurate” description of events.

“It is a routine murder case like other murder cases and has to be seen in the context of Pakistani society,” Hameed told AFP.

“The foreign media is wrongly describing it as stoning without seeing the background of the two families, which is not good and which resulted in this incident,” he added.

Hameed also claimed Parveen’s husband Mohammad Iqbal had absconded from justice for four years after murdering his wife, and alleged that Parveen eloped with him despite already being married.

Iqbal — who Thursday admitted he had strangled his first wife out of love for Parveen — had told AFP he wanted to see her attackers “killed with bricks”.

He was spared jail for his first wife’s murder because his sons persuaded her family to pardon him under Pakistan’s blood-money laws.

These allow a victim’s family to forgive the murderer, which makes prosecuting so-called “honour” cases difficult as the killer is usually a relative.

– ‘Abduction’ allegation against husband –

In a further complication to the case, defence lawyer Mansoor Khan Afridi on Saturday claimed Iqbal had abducted Parveen two years ago, when she was already married to her cousin Mazhar Iqbal.

“Mohammad Iqbal developed illicit relations with Farzana and used to visit her when her husband Mazhar Iqbal was not at home,” Afridi said. “Later Iqbal kidnapped her.”

The lawyer claimed Mohammad Iqbal then obtained another marriage certificate, a crime if Parveen was already married to another man, he said.

Afridi said that cases of abduction and unlawful marriage had already been registered with police.

A Pakistani court extended the custody of Parveen’s father on Saturday, giving police seven more days to investigate the crime, senior police official Omer Riaz Cheema told AFP.

Parveen was at court to testify in Iqbal’s defence when she was killed, after he was accused by her relatives of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage.

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year in the name of defending family “honour”.

But the brazen, brutal nature of Parveen’s killing, in broad daylight in the centre of Pakistan’s second largest city, has triggered outrage around the world.

Officers made the later arrests after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded immediate action on the case.

Last year, 869 women died in so-called “honour killings”, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.



Police say the con artist has pulled off the Gumtree scam about 300 times.

Police are on the hunt for an online scammer who may have preyed upon more than 300 people in the past year.

Victoria Police is investigating the extensive series of scams which have been conducted on the online buying and selling website Gumtree since June of 2012.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the victims of the con were members of the public based throughout Victoria and across Australia.

The scam involves a man contacting people who have posted ‘wanted’ advertisements on the Gumtree website.

The man claims to have the item the victim is searching for.

A price and terms are negotiated and the offender forwards personal banking details.

The man then asks where the buyer lives and claims to live nearby, but is reportedly unable to drop the goods off in person because of interstate work.

But once the victim has transferred money to the man’s account the offender severs all contact.

Information from the victims has led investigators to believe the scam may have been committed more than 300 times.

The scams so far have involved the attempted purchase of goods including mobile phones, iPads, electronic tablets and gift cards from stores including Coles, Myer and JB Hifi.

The offender has also been known to provide documents such as a passport, driver’s licence and card details in order to alleviate any buyer concerns.

The man’s banking details are most commonly for ANZ, Westpac, St George or Bendigo banks.

Investigators would like to hear from anyone in Victoria who has been the victim of a similar fraud.

Police are warning people to ensure they undertake thorough research before making payment.

The police spokeswoman said reports of online scams could be made to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Anyone with information about similar incidents can also contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit


PROVO, Utah (Reuters) – A Utah mother accused of killing six of her newborn infants over a decade and stashing their bodies in a garage was charged on Monday with murder in their deaths.

Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court in Provo

Megan Huntsman, 39, made a brief court appearance in Provo, Utah, as the first-degree murder charges were revealed by Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman.

Hunstman could face life in prison if convicted but will not be eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors said.

Police have said that Huntsman, who was arrested on April 13, has admitted to strangling or suffocating the six babies just after their births between 1996 and 2006 in a rare case of serial infanticide.

The infants’ remains were found wrapped in old towels, shirts and plastic bags and stuffed inside cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home in Pleasant Grove, a suburb just north of Provo. The body of a seventh infant was found disposed of in the same way, but authorities have said they believe that child was stillborn.

Police have said Huntsman secretly gave birth to all seven babies without medical assistance at the house after apparently managing to conceal her pregnancies.

Authorities have said she has explained her rationale for the killings to investigators, but they have not publicly revealed the alleged motive.

Buhman told reporters that DNA from the infants’ remains was still being analyzed to confirm their parentage, which could take weeks or months.

Huntsman has three surviving daughters, ages 14, 18 and 20, and they still live with other relatives at the Pleasant Grove address. At least one of them, the youngest, was born during the period in which the mother is suspected of slaying the babies.

Each count of first-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of five years to life in prison. But Huntsman is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted because the alleged offenses predate changes in the law that would have made them capital crimes, said Jared Perkins, a deputy county attorney.

Huntsman, who remains jailed in lieu of $6 million cash-only bond, was arrested after her estranged husband, Darren West, discovered the remains of one of the infants while cleaning out his garage, leading police to find the six other bodies.

The county attorney said neither West nor the three surviving sisters are considered suspects in the case.


Geraldton doctor Chamari Liyanage is charged with murdering her husband Dinendra image

A doctor has been charged with the murder of her husband, also a doctor, in the WA Mid West city of Geraldton.

The body of 34-year-old Dinendra Athukorala was found inside a home in Shenton Street three days ago.

Chamari Rasika Denuwanthe Gunathilaka Liyanage, 34, appeared in court in Geraldton today charged with her husband’s murder.

No plea has been entered and she did not apply for bail.

Police were called to the unit on Tuesday, following reports of a domestic incident, and found the doctor’s body inside.

The WA Country Health Service said Dr Dinendra Athukorala had worked at the Geraldton Hospital as a resident medical officer for the last year.

The service’s Margaret Denton said he was a valued member of the team and hospital staff were deeply shocked by his death.

Police say Dr Athukorala’s family in Sri Lanka had been notified of his death and consular officials were offering them assistance.

Mrs Athukorala is set to appear in the Stirling Gardens Magistrate via video link court in Perth on July 16.


APTOPIX Pakistan

LAHORE Pakistan (Reuters) – A young couple in Pakistan were tied up and had their throats slit with scythes after they married for love, police said Saturday.

The 17-year-old girl and 31-year-old man married on June 18 without the consent of their families in eastern Pakistan’s Punjabi village of Satrah, police said.

The girl’s mother and father lured the couple home late on Thursday with the promise that their marriage would receive a family blessing, said local police official Rana Zashid.

“When the couple reached there, they tied them with ropes,” he said. “He (the girl’s father) cut their throats.”

Police arrested the family, who said they had been embarrassed by the marriage of their daughter, named Muafia Hussein, to a man from a less important tribe.

Cultural traditions in many areas of Pakistan mean that killing a woman whose behavior is seen as immodest is widely accepted.

Immodest behavior that sparked recent killings included singing, looking out of the window or talking to a man who is not a relative. For a woman to marry a man of her own choice is considered an unacceptable insult by many families.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 869 so-called “honor killings” were reported in the media last year – several a day. But the true figure is probably much higher since many cases are never reported.

The weak Pakistani government, battling with a troubled economy and a Taliban insurgency, does not collect centralized statistics and has no strategy to combat the killings.

Pakistani law means that even if a woman’s killer is convicted, her family are able to forgive the killer.

Many families simply nominate a member to do the killing, then formally forgive the killer.

That’s what happened earlier this week, a lawyer said, when a tribal council in central Pakistan’s Muzaffargarh district sentenced another young couple to death for marrying for love.

The couple’s lawyer, Zia Kiyyani, said the two had appealed for police protection after their marriage on June 21, but had not received any.

The 19-year-old girl’s family came to take her from her husband’s family, swearing on the Koran that they would not harm her and would hold a proper wedding ceremony, he said.

“During this the girl shouted, cried and mourned for her life and her husband’s life because she knew that they will kill both of them,” he said.

The girl, named Mehreen Bibi, was shot by a member of her family when she returned home, police said. Her husband went into hiding and her father registered the murder complaint so he could forgive the killer, Kiyyani said.

“That will end the case,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Asim Tanveer in Multan; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Matt Driskill)

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The postmortem of a Pakistani woman killed for marrying the man she loved has established that she was five months pregnant, her stepson told Reuters on Wednesday.

Farzana Iqbal, 25, was stoned to death by her family outside one of Pakistan’s top courts in the city of Lahore on Tuesday in a so-called “honor” killing.

“Her baby died in her womb,” said Muhammad Aurangzeb, a son of her previous husband.

Honor killings are common in Pakistan, where women are often denied their basic rights. But the brutality of this case caused outrage around the world.

Many Pakistani families think it dishonorable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband.

Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiance were among the attackers. She suffered severe head injuries when they surrounded her and threw bricks at her, and was pronounced dead in hospital.

Although she was pregnant, police only registered the case as one of a single murder, Aurangzeb said. Police were not available for comment. All the suspects except her father escaped.

Iqbal had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, police said. Her family had registered a kidnapping case against him and she had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will.

She was buried in her village near the city of Faisalabad.


U. N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in Geneva she was deeply shocked by the case.

“I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honor killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honor in killing a woman in this way,” Pillay said in a statement.

“The fact that she was killed on her way to court shows a serious failure by the State to provide security for someone who – given how common such killings are in Pakistan – was obviously at risk.”

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were murdered in “honor killings” in the country last year, but the real figure could be higher, the statement said.

“People who carry out ‘honor crimes’ are rarely prosecuted, and even when they are, they often receive absurdly light sentences, considering they have committed pre-meditated murder,” Pillay said.

“This is unacceptable, and it is clearly both the State’s and the judiciary’s responsibility to work seriously to deter such crimes, and ensure that people who commit them are brought to justice.”

The U. N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has criticized Pakistan for giving legal concessions, light sentences or pardons for people guilty of honor killings.

“Such provisions are particularly pernicious when members of the same family that conducted the killing are given the right to pardon the killers,” Pillay said.

(Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


eyes of woman in burka image

Lahore: A teenage girl has died in Pakistan after being doused in petrol and set alight by a man who wanted to marry her but whose proposal had been rejected.

It was the second brutal killing in Pakistan’s Punjab province within days, after a 17-year-old girl and her husband were murdered by a group of relatives for marrying against their wishes.

The latest incident took place on Saturday in a village which is part of Toba Tek Singh town.

Sidra Shaukat, 18, was at home without her parents when 22-year-old Fayyaz Aslam entered her house, doused her with petrol and set her alight, Mohammad Akram, a police official said.

“She was taken to a local hospital which referred her to the main hospital but she died before reaching there,” Mr Akram said.

Mr Aslam has been arrested and a case registered against him.

“The boy loved her and had also sent a proposal to marry her, but that was rejected by her family,” Mr Akram said.

The woman’s father, Shaukat Ali, confirmed the killing and accused Mr Aslam of harassing his daughter.

“He used to harass my daughter – yesterday he came in the afternoon and threatened dire consequences after we asked him to avoid coming again,” Mr Ali said.

Another teenager, Maafia Bibi, 17, and her 31-year-old husband Muhammad Sajjad were murdered by Bibi’s father, her two uncles, grandfather and mother on Thursday night for marrying against their wishes in Daska town.



LAHORE, Pakistan: A 21-year-old woman has been raped and hanged from a tree in Pakistan, police say, in a case bearing a chilling resemblance to a spate of similar attacks that sparked outrage in neighbouring India.

The woman’s boyfriend of six months, named by police as Muhammad Saqib, confessed to the rape and murder and has been taken into custody, police said.

Saqib admitted he tried to force the woman– the daughter of blind parents – to have sex with two of his friends, according to police. When she refused, investigators said the pair argued.

The woman, whom he allegedly had promised to marry, was found hanging from a tree the next morning.

Police are still looking for the two alleged accomplices.

“The incident occurred in Layyah district (in Punjab province) on Thursday night and was reported to the police on Friday when the local people saw a woman hung from a tree,” senior police official Ghazi Salahudin said.

He said the woman was raped and strangled to death, and then her body was hanged to make it look like a suicide.

“But the branch was so low and the dead body was touching the ground in sitting position,” he said.

The woman was the eldest of eight siblings and made a living by farming a small piece of land.

The incident has disturbing similarities to an attack in India last month, in which two teenage girls were found gang-raped and hanged from a mango tree in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

That attack sparked protests over police apathy, and was the latest to highlight India’s dismal record on preventing sexual violence. Similar headline-making cases have piled pressure on the authorities there.


Jeremy Meeks arrested on weapon charges image

Jeremy Meeks

But it could be some time before the latest addition to the ridiculously photogenic meme gets to capitalise on his new-found online fame.

Jeremy Meeks is 30, a convicted felon and awaiting trial on weapons charges. He was arrested in Stockton, California with three other men and his bail was set at $US 900,000.

Zeddie Little: the "ridiculously photogenic" runner who became a meme.
When marathon runner Zeddie Little was snapped mid-race, an internet meme was born.

The arrest mugshot of Meeks has set the internet ablaze with over 25,000 likes and almost 7000 comments on Facebook in 24 hours.

“Due to a recent increase of shootings and robberies in the Weston Ranch area, the Stockton Police Department just completed a multi-agency Operation Ceasefire enforcement mission. Through an Operation Ceasefire analysis of the recent shootings, we identified a new active group in the Weston Ranch Area.”

Another weapon-wielding good looking meme.Another weapon-wielding good looking meme. Photo: Twitter

The posting attracted thousands of complimentary comments.

“This is why we like bad boys. Sometimes they have excellent bone structure. He better have all his teeth! Who cares cause someone out there will buy him some,” wrote one fan.

“Is it wrong to say he’s a hot criminal … I mean his eyes could melt butter and he’d fit right in in Grey’s Anatomy as doctor McFine-as-Hell!” wrote another.

The criminal charges weren’t a deal breaker for everyone.

“Oh wow!!! Yeh well I’ve got a criminal record, maybe we could catch up and compare??” wrote one woman.

But some were more practical.

“Very attractive, but can not do 6x felony rap. I do not do jail, won’t visit I may write a letter three times a year. I have no money for ya books ain’t talking to your lawyer either. So again he is pretty but he may be ugly as hell on the inside! Hopefully, if they do not strike him out he uses his little brains, or looks for good not evil!”

Many of the comments condemned his actions, advised him to seek redemption through religion and urged him to turn his life around.

“Sorry, gorgeous lips and gorgeous eyes. Too bad he wasted his life he could have been a hot model and instead of entertaining himself in the streets he could of been entertaining all these girls out here with his beauty. Hey but its never too late to turn his life around.”

Several have suggested the attention may be a turning point for Meeks, if an agent or Hollywood decides to pay his bail and set him up in an acting or modelling career.

Meeks is one of several people to garner internet attention based on unanticipated good looks, including a Syrian fighter and even one of the right side of the law, a police officer escorting a criminal.

The Stockton Police Department uploaded the photo to its Facebook page accompanied by a note explaining “Operation Ceasefire” in which Meeks was arrested.



89-year-old accused of being a Nazi guard

A man living in Pennsylvania has been arrested by US authorities in connection with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews at Nazi concentration camps.

In 1951, the sentinel who guarded the Third Reich’s most notorious death camp arrived in the United States, amiable and voice thick with a central European accent.

After breezing through immigration, he settled into a small rowhouse near Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, where neighbours knew him as “Hans”. He found work as a tool and die maker at a local engineering company in nearby Fort Washington, where he would work for 32 years. He raised three children, retired at 66 and settled into a drama-free existence that, he says, didn’t even involve one traffic ticket.

Whatever he is — killer or hapless fool who barely knew a thing, as he claims — Johann Breyer clearly succeeded in putting a great deal of time and space between himself and the events of 1944.

World War II-era record of Johann Hans Breyer’s employment as an Auschwitz camp guard.image

A copy of a World War II-era record of Johann “Hans” Breyer’s employment as an Auschwitz camp guard.

The main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I in Poland. Photo: AP

Now, across all that time and space, the past has reached out to claim him.

Breyer, 89, hobbled into a Philadelphia courtroom on Wednesday in a purple inmate uniform, stooped and with a cane. Charged with 158 counts of “complicity in the commission of murder,” prosecutors have accused him of the “systematic murder of hundreds of thousands of European Jews, transported between May 1944 and October 1944 in 158 trainloads to Auschwitz,” according to federal court documents. “Approximately 216,000 Jewish men, women and children from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia [were] transported by these trains.”

Breyer was arrested on Tuesday, one year after a German court charged him and asked for his extradition. If successful, Breyer, one of the last living members of the SS “Death’s Head” Nazi battalion, will be the oldest person ever extradited from the United States to face allegations of Nazi crimes.

Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I in Poland image

The main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I in Poland.

Breyer denies culpability. He claims he was ignorant of the executions at Auschwitz, where more than one million Jews were killed. “Not the slightest idea, never, never, ever,” Breyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1992. “All I know is from the television. What was happening at the camps, it never came up at that time.”He added in a 2012 interview with the Associated Press: “I didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t rape anybody… I didn’t do anything wrong.”Prosecutors say that doesn’t matter. His mere presence at Auschwitz is enough to merit extradition. “He is charged with aiding and abetting those deaths,” Assistant US Attorney Andrea Foulkes told the Inquirer. “Proof doesn’t require him to have personally pulled any levers. His guarding made it possible for those killings to happen.”

Johann Breyer nazi concentration camp guard image

An archive picture of Johann Breyer Photo

He was born on May 30, 1925, into a community of ethnic German farmers living in what was then Czechoslovakia. His mother, born in Philadelphia, placed him in German school. In November 1942, there came a local announcement: The SS was looking for recruits. Most ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia ignored the request without consequence, the indictment alleges, but not Breyer.

By early 1943, he arrived at Auschwitz, still a teenager. He allegedly became a member of the Death’s Head battalion. In the next year, 216,000 Jews arrived by train and “were exterminated upon arrival,” the indictment says. They “were taken from the train ramp by armed Death’s Head guards directly to the gas chambers for extermination. … The armed Death’s Head guards were under orders to shoot to kill anyone who tried to escape.”

Documents reviewed by the Associated Press show Breyer was a member of the Death’s Head until as late as December 29, 1944, just weeks before Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Union, though Breyer claims to have deserted the camp months before.Wednesday’s courtroom drama has been decades in the making. The Department of Justice first accused Breyer of Nazi crimes in 1992 and tried to boot him out of the country. But a 2003 federal decision allowed him to stay on claims of US citizenship derived from his mother’s origins. It also ruled that because he was 17 when he enlisted with the Nazis, he didn’t bear responsibility for the atrocities.But the 2011 conviction in Munich of an Ohio man changed the calculus. Prosecutors were able to have John Demjanjuk, who had served at another notorious death camp, convicted on the legal theory that guards were just as guilty of murder as those pulling levers in gas chambers. Even without proof of direct participation, the legal argument holds that anyone who worked at a death camp is guilty of murder because the camps’ sole purpose was to kill.

Wednesday’s courtroom drama has been decades in the making. The Department of Justice first accused Breyer of Nazi crimes in 1992 and tried to boot him out of the country. But a 2003 federal decision allowed him to stay on claims of US citizenship derived from his mother’s origins. It also ruled that because he was 17 when he enlisted with the Nazis, he didn’t bear responsibility for the atrocities.But the 2011 conviction in Munich of an Ohio man changed the calculus. Prosecutors were able to have John Demjanjuk, who had served at another notorious death camp, convicted on the legal theory that guards were just as guilty of murder as those pulling levers in gas chambers. Even without proof of direct participation, the legal argument holds that anyone who worked at a death camp is guilty of murder because the camps’ sole purpose was to kill.

Breyer, whose bail was denied, is fighting extradition. “I’m an American citizen, just as if I had been born here,” he told the AP in 2012. “They can’t deport me.”



gavin-mooney-family murder victim image

An internationally renowned health economist was struck at least 13 times in the head with a hammer when he was killed in Tasmania in 2012.

Western Australian academics Professor Gavin Mooney and his partner Dr Delys Weston died from catastrophic blows to the head at their rural property south of Hobart.

Dr Weston’s son Nicolau Francisco Soares, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the couple on the grounds he was insane at the time.

Forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Lawrence has told the Tasmanian Supreme Court Prof Mooney’s injuries were probably caused by a combination of blows from a claw hammer and a blockbuster.

“There appeared to be at least 13 separate impacts to the head,” Dr Lawrence said.

A single blockbuster blow, or several with the hammer, to the back of the head that caused a massive skull fracture and vertebra damage would have been enough to cause death, he said.

Dr Weston received at least eight blows, one damaging the brain stem and probably causing her death.

The jury was shown graphic photos, CT scan images and diagrams produced during Dr Lawrence’s post mortem.

A chilling police walk-through video of the crime scene, at Mountain River 30km south of Hobart, showed two bodies slumped in the house’s TV room where a blood-stained blockbuster and broken hammer are seen on the floor.

A mental health report tabled from WA, where Soares lived, indicated he had been involuntarily admitted for treatment three times between 2008 and 2010.

He remained a client of the service in 2012 and had been warned to organise medication that had run out, the report said.

Professor Mooney had commented on Soares’s health to the service in a phone conversation from Tasmania.

“It’s a rather mixed bag,” he said.

An Australian Defence Force report showed Soares had twice applied to join the army, the second time just a month before the killings in December 2012.

He did not reach the required score in an aptitude test, the report said.

Soares moved from Perth to Tasmania in the weeks before the deaths to live with his mother and her partner.

The couple had bought the property the year before.

Prof Mooney had been the head of health economics at Curtin University and also held positions in Sydney, Hobart, South Africa and Denmark.

Dr Weston specialised in the political economy of global warming and held university positions in South Africa and Tasmania.


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