Sunday, December 10

US millionaire jailed for at least 17 years for murdering Cardiff student



A millionaire New York businessman who murdered a British student in a Cardiff hotel room after meeting her on a dating website has been told he must serve at least 17 years in prison before being considered for release.

Sammy Almahri, 44, strangled Nadine Aburas, 28, on New Year’s Eve 2014, then hung a “do not disturb” sign on the door of the hotel room before driving to Heathrow and fleeing to the Middle East.

Almahri, who lied to Aburas about being an FBI agent, was eventually located in Tanzania and arrested on an Interpol arrest warrant before being returned to Britain.

He initially denied murder, claiming that he had been driven to kill by voices in his head but on the second day of his trial changed his plea. Jailing Almahri for life, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said: “You showed both jealously and possessiveness of Nadine. I am satisfied that your killing of Nadine was prompted by jealousy and anger.

“Her death has left a huge void in the lives of all the family that can never be replaced. Your actions will impact upon Nadine’s family for the rest of their lives, their loss is immeasurable.”

Wales Police Sammy Almahri In a victim impact statement, Aburas’s mother, Andrea Aburas, 59, said Almahri had destroyed the family. She said: “She was such a beautiful girl, in both looks and personality. She was a ray of sunshine in everyone’s lives.

“She was an inspiration to us all. She made you feel like you wanted to be a better person. Although she was strong and could hold her own, she also had a delicate heart.”

She added: “I will never forget when police came to tell us Nadine had been taken away from us. My life ended. We have all lived our lives ever since in a complete haze. Almahri knew what he was he was doing. By taking Nadine, Almahri has taken the glue that made this family. We allowed him to come into our family and instead he took from us my child.

“Life will never, ever be the same. No sentence that could be given to this man could compare to the sentence he has given to us. He has destroyed us.”

Cardiff crown court heard Aburas, who lived alone in her own flat in the Welsh capital, met Almahri on an internet dating site.

Almahri was “besotted” with Aburas, showering her with money and expensive presents. But the court heard that Aburas – described as “slim and petite” – suffered violence during the relationship.

She once called police to say she had been raped by Almahri when she visited him in New York and claimed he had also attempted to strangle her.

Almahri became “increasingly jealous” when she began to see other men in Cardiff and bombarded her with abusive messages, warning her: “You will be in hell.”

He also threatened to post a naked photograph of Aburas on Facebook and sent her a message just days before the death saying: “You will be so sorry … I know your (sic) with someone else.”

He began to compile a “minute by minute” account of what she was doing – monitoring her movements from the other side of the Atlantic.

Almahri travelled from the US to see Aburas and booked into the Future Inn hotel near her home on 30 December 2014.

Shortly after 3am on 31 December, Almahri left the hotel, travelled in Aburas’s car to Heathrow airport and took a flight to Doha in Qatar. Aburas’s body was found at about 12.20pm on New Year’s Day by the duty manager and police were called.

Almahri tried to pretend she had killed herself – and that he had assisted her suicide, the jury was told. A forged note found in the room was addressed to Almahri and began: “Sorry, have come to an end, I love you” – and was signed “Nadine”.