An abusive man who pushed his pregnant wife off an Edinburgh landmark to her death just days before she was set to leave him has been jailed for at least 20 years.
Kashif Anwar, 29, from Leeds, was found guilty of the September 2021 murder of Fawziyah Javed, 31, and that of her unborn child, after a six-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Ms Javed, who was about 17 weeks pregnant when she was pushed from Arthur’s Seat, used her dying words to reveal it was her abusive husband who caused her to fall about 50ft before her body came to a rest.
Police Constable Rhiannon Clutton, 35, was told by Ms Javed that her husband did it because she “told him I wanted to end (the marriage)”.
Judge Lord Beckett imposed a mandatory life sentence on Anwar with an imprisonment period of a minimum of 20 years.
He told Anwar: “You have been found guilty of murdering Fawziyah Javed who was a very special person.
He told the killer that his victim was willing to trust that he would keep her safe when they went up Arthur’s Seat, but that he pushed her off when nobody else was around.
The judge said Ms Javed’s mother, Yasmin Javed, had described her as a “beautiful soul inside and out” who was a popular woman.
As Anwar was handcuffed and taken to the cells, a family member of Ms Javed shouted “die you bastard” at him.
Jurors were visibly upset after the result, some crying, and the judge thanked them for the “admirable way” they performed their duties.
“There’s no words in the English dictionary that go deep enough.”
In a statement read on behalf of the Javed family outside court, they said: “Our life sentence began the day that our daughter was brutally murdered.
“Whilst we welcome the verdict, this outcome does not feel like justice when compared to what we have lost.”
Giving evidence, Mrs Javed, 56, said she was “very worried” about her daughter and added: “I said if you feel that you are in danger, just text me, ‘I feel like cream cakes’ and I will contact the police.”
“The accused was being abusive, controlling, manipulative, aggressive and violent towards her,” she told the court. “She didn’t want to stay in a marriage like that, she wanted to leave.”
Anwar and his victim had checked into a hotel in Edinburgh on August 31 and were to return to Yorkshire on September 4, which would have been Ms Javed’s 32nd birthday.
The trial heard she planned not to return to Anwar’s home but go to her parents’ house and contact police to retrieve her belongings.
On September 2 she was pushed to her death from the Edinburgh landmark in Holyrood Park.
CCTV showed the couple walking arm-in-arm through Waverley railway station towards Arthur’s Seat and shortly after Anwar walking in front as they passed the Scottish Parliament.
Shortly afterwards, she was pushed over the edge.
James Duncan, 25, who was walking up Arthur’s Seat that evening, told the court: “There were a couple of screams to my recollection. One was from a female screaming, then I heard a male screaming after I heard the female scream.”
He said soon afterwards, he saw Anwar with another woman who were looking for a charged mobile phone to call emergency services.
Mr Duncan said: “The gentleman said his wife had fallen off the summit and wanted me to call 999 to get in touch with ambulance or police or emergency services to get them to help with the situation.”
In the first 999 call, operators were told she could be heard screaming after the fall.
The court heard that in a second call, Anwar told the ambulance service that they both fell.
Firefighter Sean Stratford was one of the emergency responders dispatched to the scene just after 9pm.
He said he was approached by a man, who he could not identify: “He said that he stood up to take a selfie, he slipped and bumped her and she had fallen.”
“She was not in a very good state at all,” the firefighter said, and told the court she had been slipping in and out of consciousness on the hillside until emergency responders had to start resuscitation.
Ms Javed was declared dead on the hillside at 10.18pm.
In the early hours of the next morning, Police Constable Sean Henderson, 37, said Anwar was told of the news.
“There wasn’t much of a reaction, in my opinion, he didn’t say much to it and didn’t have any obvious physical reaction.”
After being told of his wife’s death, Anwar told Pc Henderson: “I know how this looks. We had our problems as a couple, but … ”
The court was told Anwar never finished what he was saying as more officers entered the room and he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Pc Henderson told the court: “From start to near finish, he was very calm and composed throughout.
“I was actually struck how calm his demeanour was throughout.”
Detective Constable Steven Cavallero told the court when Anwar was in custody he asked: “How many years do you think I will get? Double figures? Maybe 15 to 20 years you reckon? That’s a long time.”