The family of a Cardiff woman killed at a city hotel have spoken out about their loss.
On New Year’s Eve 2014 the body of 28 year old Nadine Aburas was found at the Future Inns hotel in Cardiff Bay.
A manhunt was launched by South Wales Police for her American boyfriend Sammy Almahri who had fled the country to Africa.
He was under suspicion of her murder.
Now, in an ITV Cymru Wales documentary, the family reveal the true nature of their relationship.
The couple met on a dating website in 2012 before starting a relationship and visiting each other in Wales and the US.
Nadine’s family now explain how an exciting online romance turned into their worst nightmare.
“He was very demanding. He became suddenly a big burden with anger issues and then I thought there is something not right here and it started becoming quite scary” explains Nadine’s mother Andrea as she recalls Almahri’s jealous messages and controlling behaviour in the months leading up to her death.
“He’d become a lot more sinister in his communications with Nadine. I was very stubborn that he shouldn’t be a part of her life anymore” says sister Aneesa.
They reveal details of how Nadine’s trip to Almahri’s home in New York during the summer of 2014 led to her making a police complaint alleging he had raped and abused her.
“He attacked her, violated her, and she suffered a horrific time which she tried to keep from us when she returned,” reveals her mum.
At the time Nadine Aburas however decided not to proceed with her allegation, but told family members that Almahri was threatening to share indecent pictures of her online.
“Sammy Almahri played a game from the start, negotiations showed that. He had other women on the line, made threats to kill other people, teased and taunted us really.
He was irrational and it was clear to me he was lying” explains senior investigating officer DCI Gareth Morgan from South Wales Police, who received phone calls from their prime suspect from Tanzania.
Whilst on the run Almahri also made contact with Nadine’s family.
“The reality was a nightmare. He would call us using Nadine’s phone and it was so horrible, as though murdering my sister wasn’t enough for him, he had to torment us further” says Aneesa.
South Wales Police sent a team of detectives to Tanzania to find him and on the 19th of January 2015 Almahri was caught and arrested by local police. Following his extradition he pleaded guilty to murder at Cardiff Crown Court and in November 2016 was sentenced to life imprisonment
The family now say they were disappointed not to have a full trial and explain that they wanted the world to know the American’s true character.
“I have anger, sadness, I have deep feelings a mother should never have to feel. When a child is taken so violently from her, it is a sentence I feel I will have to live through each and every day. He has changed my life for the rest of my life”, says Nadine’s mother.
The family say they are still coming to terms with Nadine’s death and treasure their memories of her.
More details from the case will be featured on ‘Y Ditectif’, tonight on S4C at 9.30pm. The programme has English subtitles.