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    Wife-killer appears headed for asylum

    Nasir Ahmadi, 47, is facing a committal hearing charged with murdering his wife, Zahara Rahimzadegan, at their home in Melbourne.

    Prosecutor Peter Rose said the couple had marital problems before Ahmadi reported his wife missing, two days after she vanished on December 16 last year. “He told people the deceased had gone off with the person he had suspected her of having an affair with,” Rose told the Melbourne Magistrates Court Monday.

    The couple, also known as Nathan and Mandy, came to Australia with their two children as refugees in 1999, and later converted from Islam to Christianity.

    Rahimzadegan complained of physical abuse and spoke of leaving her husband, according to witness statements to the court by the pair’s family and friends.    Mohammed Ismael Mir-shahi, 53, met the pair as refugees in Pakistan in 1996 before moving with his family to Melbourne in 2000.

    “When Mino (Rahim-zadegan) spoke about the violence, she would say many times that she thought Nasir will kill her one day,” Mirshahi said in his statement.

    “She showed me blackening to her skin on her lower back and her upper arms.”

    Rahimzadegan’s cousin, Saeid Yaghoobi Arangeh, said the couple had separated for two months in 2007.

    “Mino said she had had enough of him and she cannot live with him anymore,” he said in his statement.

    “Nathan would follow Mino everywhere and, to me, he seemed suspicious of her. He seemed to think that she was seeing someone else with every man she was associated with.”

    Church friend Roya Agahi-Hovenden said she received a call on the morning of December 16 from a distressed Rahimzadegan, who wanted church officials to stop intervening in the couple’s marital issues. “She was on fire. She was very agitated and upset,” Agahi-Hovenden said in her statement. “She said that she never stuck her nose into other’s people lives and so why don’t we leave her alone.

    “She was very hyped up and edgy.”

    Rahimzadegan’s brother, Ali Rahimzadegan, said he found it strange when Ahmadi showed him a supermarket shopping receipt to prove he was not at home at the time of his wife’s disappearance.

    Ahmadi reported his wife missing after he said he found their house empty upon his return from a shopping trip two days earlier.

    He said he suspected that Muslim extremists had abducted his wife because she had converted to Christianity and helped several other Muslims convert. She became a Christian in 2004.

    Homicide Squad Detective Inspector John Potter said at the time that the police did not find any evidence to support Ahmadi’s theory.

    Police suspicions turned toward the husband when they learned he had installed a deck behind his house after his wife disappeared.

    Police took over the house. They dismantled the deck and dug down below it. There they found a large concrete block. With jackhammers, they broke up the concrete. The missing wife was encased inside.

    Potter said Rahimzadegan had previously left home for short periods due to domestic “issues,” but each time had informed one of her two sons of her whereabouts. This time, she hadn’t.

    After finding the corpse in the concrete, the detectives arrested Ahmadi and charged him with his wife’s murder.

    Ahmadi soon confessed to murdering his wife. At a court hearing in January, Nathan was laconic. “I love my wife,” he said, “but she is dead.”

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