A millionaire New York businessman strangled his British girlfriend in a hotel room after meeting her on a Muslim dating site, a court heard today.
Nadine Aburas, 28, was found on New Year’s Eve by hotel staff – and hours later it is alleged her killer fled in her car to drive to London Heathrow Airport to evade justice.
Sammy Almahri, 44, had hung a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door of Room 203 of the Future Inns in Cardiff before fleeing abroad, the court was told.
Roger Thomas, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court: ‘This was the killing of a defenceless woman by a jealous and dangerous man.’
The court heard Miss Aburas, who lived alone in her own flat in Cardiff Bay, met Almahari on an internet dating site called MuslimMatch.com.
Mr Thomas said: ‘They became friendly and contacted each other regularly by telephone, text and Skype.
‘The friendship developed. It’s clear Almahri visited Nadine two or three times in 2013 and she travelled to New York to see him in the summer of 2014.
The court heard Almahri was ‘besotted’ by Miss Aburas – showering her with money and expensive presents.
Mr Thomas said: ‘There can be no doubt their friendship developed into an intimate relationship.’
But the court heard Miss Aburas – described as a ‘slim, petite, Muslim lady’ of 5ft 3in and 9st had ‘suffered violence’ during the last meeting.
She returned home with an injured lip. The court heard the student then began seeing other men in her hometown of Cardiff.
Miss Aburas called police to say she had been raped by Almahri in New York – and claimed he had also attempted to strangle her.
The court heard Almahari became ‘increasingly jealous’ then bombarded her with abusive messages. The court heard he warned her: ‘You will be in hell.’
Mr Thomas said she was concerned that Almahri would show topless pictures to her family.
Almahari travelled from the US to see Miss Aburas – and booked into the Future Inns hotel near her home on December 30, 2014, the court heard.
But shortly after 3am on December 31, Almahri allegedly left the hotel and travelled in her car to Heathrow and booked a flight at 10.35am to Doha.
Miss Aburas’s body was found at around 12.20pm on New Year’s Eve by the duty manager – and police were called in.
The court heard Almahri as eventually located in Tanzania and arrested on an Interpol arrest warrant on January 19 before being returned to Britain.
The court heard he pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murder.
Almahri claims he was suffering from ‘abnormality of mental function’. He claims he was in a psychiatric state of hearing ‘the voice of God’ telling him to kill Miss Aburas.
The court heard Almahari claimed he worked and travelled on behalf of the FBI, but Mr Thomas said: ‘That seems to be fictitious.’
The trial continues and is expected to last four weeks.