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City banker jailed at Lewes Crown Court for murdering high-class escort

Zahid Naseem (pictured on the right) in handcuffs Photo: ITV Meridian

A city banker has been jailed at Lewes Crown Court for the murder of a high-class escort.

Zahid Naseem will serve a minimum of 19 years in prison for murdering Christine Abbotts on her 29th birthday.

In the brutal and prolonged killing, Naseem struck Ms Abbotts 13 times on the back of the head with the large, black, ceramic kitchen utensil.

She was hit around 30 times in total all over her body while looking after a flat for a friend in Crawley, West Sussex.

Christine Abbotts was bludgeoned to death on her 29th birthday

Naseem, a 48-year-old financial consultant, claimed he hit Ms Abbotts in self-defence, fearing he was being strangled to death.

But a jury of eight men and four women at Lewes Crown Court rejected his defence, finding him guilty of murder after four hours of deliberations.

Ms Abbotts, who was born in the West Midlands, was described in court as a "socialite" who led a party lifestyle in London, mixing with "posh" and wealthy friends.

Naseem was jailed at Lewes Crown Court Credit: ITV Meridian

The pair were last seen in public on the evening of May 24 when he met her in Crawley before spending the night together.

CCTV showed Naseem standing in an Asda supermarket aisle kissing Ms Abbotts on the forehead as they bought her favourite brand of champagne, Veuve-Clicquot.

Worried friends started searching for her when she failed to turn up to her birthday party in South Kensington the next day.

Police found her body when they broke down the door of the flat in the early hours of the morning on May 26.