The boyfriend of honour killing victim Banaz Mahmod has told how he was left "heartbroken" by her death.

Rahmat Sulemani said his dreams of their future together were crushed when she was murdered by her own father and uncle.

He said Banaz was the "nicest and sweetest" person he had ever met and that all she ever wanted was to be happy.

Rahmat, 29, who has had to move home and live under a different name, said Banaz's family's apparent respectability concealed a "dark side".

Banaz's father Mahmod Mahmod and uncle Ari Mahmod hatched a plot to kill the couple because they believed Rahmat was an unsuitable boyfriend, despite being a hard-working friend of the family who was often invited for dinner.

It was through his friendship with her parents that Rahmat came to meet Banaz and their initial acquaintance blossomed into love.

"The more I got to know her, the more I got to like her," Rahmat said.

"We became close friends and at first it was just a normal friendship.

"Then it kept on going. The more we knew about each other the stronger our feelings were for one another.

"My feelings were really strong. It was something I'd never felt before. My life depended on her after we were together.

"She was my present, my future, my hope. She was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn't ask for anything better than that."


Rahmat struggled to control his emotions as he described how their secret relationship was plagued by ever more serious threats after her family found out.

Despite the dangers, Banaz was determined to keep on seeing him.

"She just said if I was not there she didn't want a life with anyone," he said.

Rahmat tried to convince Banaz's father to let the pair marry but he told her it was "never going to happen" and suggested that even if he agreed his brother and other members of the community would not allow it.

Banaz was taken to a relative's house in Sheffield where she was locked up for two weeks and subjected to beatings.

When the strong-arm tactics did not work Ari called a family meeting in December 2005 when it was decided to kill the couple unless they stopped seeing each other.

The first attempt on Banaz's life came on New Year's Eve when Mahmod lured her to her grandmother's house and forced her to gulp down brandy.

She escaped by smashing a window before collapsing in a cafe and being taken to hospital, covered in blood.

"I was shocked when I saw her. I didn't know what was happening. As soon as she saw me she came and hugged me and said 'Don't go'," Rahmat said.

"It is a moment that I can never forget in my life - the state that Banaz was in, with bruises, scratches and blood all over her body."

He decided to record video footage of Banaz telling what had happened to her, which was later played in court, because he did not think people would believe her respectable family were capable of it.

"Her parents are a very strict Muslim family. It would be hard for people to believe me. They would be saying, 'No Banaz's family would never touch alcohol, he is a Muslim'.

"People couldn't see the dark side inside them because they were good at hiding that," Rahmat said.

After the attack the couple were "terrified" and thought they could pretend they had broken up but they were being followed and were seen together.

One evening in Hounslow, Ari's henchmen came to take Rahmat away, but he was protected by friends whose house he was visiting.

Rahmat told Banaz what happened and she went to her local police station, where she made an appointment to return a day after.

But later that night he was unable to get through to her mobile phone, and became increasingly concerned when there was no contact at all the next day.

"I went to the police station and said to them, 'I am worried about my girlfriend's life'. I told them what happened to me.

"Her parents said that she'd gone shopping. I said 'no way, they are lying'."


Banaz's body was found three months later buried in a Birmingham back garden.

Asked about his life now, Rahmat said: "There is no life. My life went away when Banaz died. The only thing which was keeping me going was the moment to see justice being done for Banaz."

Rahmat, who plans to write a book about his experiences, said he hoped publicity around the case would help end other such killings.

"I just hope that one day this is going to stop and there is going to be a way out for people."