Janet Gilson

Killer of ex-wife's aunt sentenced to life behind bars

Judge hands down maximum sentence to man who killed his ex-wife’s aunt, a 64-year-old British tourist, and hid her body under a sofa

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 5:15am

A "highly dangerous" man who brutally killed his ex-wife's aunt - a retired British Salvation Army major - on Lamma Island two years ago was jailed for life yesterday.

Ahmed Fareed, 31, was sentenced in the Court of First Instance for committing what Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore said was the "ultimate crime" of murdering 64-year-old Janet Gilson in March 2011, in his ex-wife's home.

Fareed killed Gilson, who was from Essex, while she was on holiday in Hong Kong, visiting her niece, Julia, and her young daughter, now five. Her body was hidden under a sofa and discovered by police four days after she was reported missing, the court heard earlier.

Julia, Fareed's ex-wife, warned anyone in a violent relationship to get away from their abusive partners, as she reflected on giving her ex-husband too many second chances.

In passing sentence, the judge said: "This was a most brutal killing of a woman aged 64 who had done no harm to the defendant.

"I have not doubt he is highly dangerous," he said of the Maldives resident.

The judge said Fareed's motive for killing Gilson was unknown. The court heard Fareed had been barred by a court order from entering his ex-wife's home and had a very bad temper.

"Words fail to describe the whole horror," the judge said.

The court heard that Fareed put one end of a rope around Gilson's neck and the other end around her wrist. Gilson, in her nightwear, was hit hard on her forehead and had four ribs broken. While she was still alive, Fareed stuffed a towel into her mouth, suffocating her. The judge said it was a calculated murder because after the killing, Fareed locked the doors and sent a text message from Gilson's mobile phone to Julia to say the victim had gone to Aberdeen.

The jury was unanimous in its guilty verdict after a six-day trial.

The court heard Fareed had been fined in 2009 for possessing dangerous drugs and jailed in 2010 for two months for criminal intimidation.

An emotional Julia sobbed in the public gallery as she heard the guilty verdict. When asked about her feelings, she said: "Justice - one word to use.

"There is no happiness because of the crime and both the relationships," she said.

"I miss [my aunt] greatly and will never forget the ultimate sacrifice that was put upon her, allowing myself and my daughter to live our lives without fear of my ex-husband.

"To those people that are in relationships with violent partners: I strongly urge you to get away, putting [yourselves at a] sufficient distance to end matters peacefully," she said.

"I made the mistake of believing I could help change my ex-husband, giving him many chances," she said. "I realise the error of that judgment now and hope that others can also learn from that." She said she hoped her ex-husband would serve his full sentence in Hong Kong.