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Police hunt for Mum’s body parts

POLICE were this week searching for parts of a mother's dismembered body after her son-in-law was charged with her murder.

HUNTING for clues... police scour an alleyway close to the house on Burnley Road.
HUNTING for clues... police scour an alleyway close to the house on Burnley Road.

POLICE were this week searching for parts of a mother's dismembered body after her son-in-law was charged with her murder.

Mohammed Arshad, 36, of Crumpsall, Manchester, appeared before Hyndburn magistrates on Monday accused of killing mum-of-six Zainab Begum, who disappeared from her home in Burnley Road, Accrington, on 13 January.

The following day, his brother Mohammed Khan, 37, who is married to another of Mrs Begum's daughters, stood in the dock at Blackburn charged with assisting in the disposal of parts of her body.

Arshad works at Holland's Pies, Baxenden, and owns the Millennium takeaway in Church Street, Accrington.

Forensic experts have this week been combing the takeaway premises, which have remained closed and under police guard.

The search has also concentrated on Mrs Begum's home and an address in Crumpsall.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Brunskill, who is leading the investigation, said: "We all appreciate this is a sensitive time, particularly for the family of Mrs Begum, and my sympathies are with them at this time."

"The work will continue for the rest of the week and in addition we are pursuing all possible lines of inquiry to recover Mrs Begum's body."

"I currently have 40 officers working on the case and we hope we will soon have a clearer picture.''

As well as two daughters living in Manchester, Mrs Begum, 56, had four other children, Samina Amin, 31, and Farina Begum, 18, of Queens Road West, Accrington, and Zarina Akhtar, 19, and Moorhead High School pupil Neelam Sher, 14, who both lived with their mother.

Accrington and Rossendale College lecturer Samina, who first raised fears about her mother's disappearance and had contacted Hyndburn's MP Greg Pope for help, said: "People can only imagine what we're going through and all we can do is pray for my mother and her spirit."

"The police have let us know what we need to know and we are content to just leave the case in their hands.''

Mr Graham March, managing director of Holland's Pies, said police had been to the factory to question Arshad, who works in the meat processing department.

He said: "They searched his locker but not the rest of the factory. Production hasn't been affected at all and it's all systems go as normal. The police have told us they don't need us anymore.''

He added that Arshad was "an okay employee, neither good nor bad", who did not attract attention to himself.

When he appeared before court on Monday, Arshad wore a maroon top with white stripes and spoke only to confirm his name and address through an interpreter.

Chairman of the bench, Robert Gibson, told Arshad: "You have heard what has been said in court. You have heard the reasons for being remanded in custody and it's the opinion of the court that it should be the case."

"So we are prepared to remand you in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 11 February."

The full charge faced by Mohammed Khan, 37, also of Crumpsall, is that between 13 January and 28 January, at Accrington and elsewhere, he assisted in the disposal of human body parts of Zainab Begum with intent to impede the arrest or prosecution of Mohammed Arshad, who had committed the offence of murder.

He was sent in custody to Preston Crown Court, where he will appear with his brother next Wednesday.

Mrs Begum was reported missing from home on 13 January and at first it was treated as a routine case.

But despite numerous inquiries she was not found and police say that a subsequent review of the case on Thursday 22 January resulted in the level of concern for her being raised.

A police statement adds: "A forensic examination of her home address was carried out over a number of days and as a result a murder investigation was launched on Tuesday 27 January."

"On Wednesday 28 January Mohammed Arshad, born 10 October 1967, from the Crumpsall area of Manchester was arrested in connection with her disappearance."

"Following extensive inquiries and interviews, Arshad was charged with the murder of Mrs Begum on Saturday 31 January.''

Mr Munsaf Dad, a representative of the borough's Muslim community, said: "Everyone is really sad and thinking of the family at this very painful time. They are in our prayers and we would all like to extend our condolences."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
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Beth Abbit
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Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
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