Man jailed for murder of his wife in Ilford

A man who was convicted of murdering his wife at their family home in Ilford has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Muhammad Ilyas, 41, of Kingston Road, was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, July 1, and will serve a minimum of 18 years.

He had previously been found guilty on Friday, June 10 of the murder of Maria Rafael Chavez.

Police were called on the evening of May 13, 2021 after Ms Chavez, 32, was found unresponsive at the home.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An initial investigation found she hadn’t suffered any obvious injuries and there were no signs of a disturbance. Officers arranged for a special post-mortem examination which revealed Ms Chavez had suffered compression to her neck, likely to have been as a result of being strangled.

Homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command carried out further enquiries, which included collecting CCTV evidence and speaking to neighbours.

This information, along with the pathologist’s findings, helped officers establish that Ilyas had killed his wife during the afternoon of May 13, 2021.

Ilyas denied killing Maria and told officers he believed she had died from natural causes. The findings of the post-mortem examination disproved this.

The couple had moved the UK in 2019 and Maria was attending a college course to learn English at the time of her death. Ilyas was working on a market stall in Stratford.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]