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Mark Denton murder trial

A court has heard that a boxer from Hartlepool was hacked to death with an axe at a New Years Eve party, and that his girlfriend pleaded with one of the alleged killers to leave him alone.

Anthony Middleton and David Sowerby deny murdering Mark Denton.

Today (June 6) people who were at the party gave evidence. Dan Ashby was in court.

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Husband restrained in court after outburst at Rania trial

A husband who says he killed his wife in self-defence because she appeared as an "evil apparition" has grabbed an interpreter by the neck and shook him against the dock wall at Manchester Crown Court.

Ahmed Al-Khatib had to be restrained after the outburst, as prosecutors outlined their case against him.

He is accused of murdering Rania Alayed because she was becoming "westernised" and trying to end their "violent" marriage. Her body has never been found.

Rania Alayed Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Ahmed denies the charge, claiming he is mentally ill.

Jurors were told his defence case states he is subject to hallucinations and that he saw his wife turn into an "evil apparition" called a "jinn", which advanced upon him.

He says he struck the apparition in self defence.

His lawyers say they will provide expert evidence about the place of "jinns" within Islam.


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Rania jury hears mobile phone was sent to Turkey

The mobile phone of a dead mother-of-three from Manchester was sent to Turkey to "give the impression" she was still alive, say prosecutors.

Rania's brother-in-law, Muhaned Al-Khatib, gave the device to a female friend of his who did not want to take her own phone on a foreign holiday.

A jury heard he provided the dead mother's mobile, describing it as his, on condition that a text message in Arabic be sent from Turkey.

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Breakdown mechanic says campervan had 'rancid smell'

A breakdown mechanic says a campervan, which prosecutors state was used to dump the body of a mother-of-three, had a "rancid smell".

Rania Alayed Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Rania Alayed, from Manchester, vanished in June 2013. Her husband, Ahmed Al-Khatib, and brother-in-law, Muhaned Al-Khatib are accused of murdering her because they believed she was becoming "westernised".

Jurors at the city's Crown Court heard that the men drove her remains to a road layby in North Yorkshire, where they buried her. But the prosecution say, as they returned to Manchester, their vehicle broke down and Muhaned called the AA.

Recovery worker, Richard Sheardown, described a "stench" when he opened the back of the vehicle. Another member of AA staff also noticed an awful smell.

Ahmed and Munhaned Al-Khatib deny murder. A third defendant, Hussain Al-Khatib, denies perverting the course of justice over the alleged hiding of her body.

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A neighbour of Rania's brother-in-law heard shouting, banging and then screaming on evening prosecutors she was murdered

A neighbour of Rania's brother-in-law heard shouting, banging and then screamingon the evening prosecutors say the mother-of-three was murdered at Muhaned Al-Khatib's flat.

Jurors heard that CCTV cameras captured Rania's husband, Ahmed Al-Khatib, leaving the flat wearing some of her clothes less than an hour after the killing.

This was a "deception that Rania Alayed was alive", they were told, because "minutes later, the body was being transported in a suitcase".

The trial has adjourned for the day and will resume tomorrow morning.

  1. Granada

The Rania Alayed murder trial has resumed at Manchester Crown Court.

Rania developed a relationship with another man after leaving her husband Ahmed Al-Khatib, say the prosecution. She ended it because of a "shouting and angry" phone call from Ahmed's brother Muhaned.

The court was told the mother-of-three was asked to drop her children at her brother-in-law's flat in the early evening of 7 June 2013, so the youngsters could spend the weekend with her husband.

Rania was due to meet a friend after that drop-off. She did not turn up.


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Rania Alayed was born in Syria - she fled with her husband to the UK searching for a safer life

Rania Alayed was born in Syria in 1987, and married her husband Ahmed Al-Khatib at the age of 15. The court was told that they fled the Middle East together, searching for a safer life in the UK.

Yet the prosecution allege she never found it because Ahmed was "sexually violent… abusive and controlling". Jurors heard that Rania confided in a friend that "she feared he would kill her".

When Rania went to college and "became a little too westernised" it was "all too much" for Ahmed and his brother Muhaned Al-Khatib. Her husband took her phone away because he believed she was "talking to men on it".

  1. Granada

Two men accused of murdering a mother, whose body has never been found, have gone on trial at Manchester Crown Court

Rania Alayed Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Rania Alayed vanished from her home in the city's Cheetham Hill in June 2013. The prosecution say she was lured to her death at a block of flats in Salford, at the end of an unhappy and violent marriage. Her husband, Ahmed Al-Khatib, denies murder.

Prosecutors say he told psychiatrists that he pushed Rania "causing her to stumble and fall" because he was "possessed of a spirit that caused him to do what he did". Rania's brother-in-law Muhaned Al-Khatib also denies murder. Both men admit perverting the course of justice.

A third defendant, Hussain Al-Khatib, has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice over the alleged concealment of her body.

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