A city banker who showed ‘utterly callous disregard’ for a young Crawley woman who he bludgeoned to death on her birthday has been jailed.
Zahid Naseem attacked Christina Abbotts with ‘extraordinary ferocity’ in May this year and was convicted of murder yesterday by unanimous verdict.
The pair had met through Christina's secret work as a 'high class escort'.
Tragically on the third occasion they met up Naseem murdered her in a savage attack with a pestle. The alarm was raised when 29-year-old Christina did not show up to her birthday party.
Naseem claimed that his brutal assault had been self-defence, but this was rejected by the jury.
The 48-year-old father of two from Elm Close in Amersham appeared at Lewes Crown Court today for sentencing.
In a heart-breaking statement read out by the prosecution, Christina’s father Michael Abbotts spoke of the loss of his beloved daughter.
Mr Abbotts said: “I was hoping one day to walk her up the aisle. She would have made a beautiful bride.
“We constantly worried for her safety and financial circumstances while she was in London.
“Her loss has impacted our lives so much. We can’t face going back to work.
“Christmas will be bleak this year.”
Defence barrister Lewis Power QC asked the court to note that there was ‘little premeditation’ in the killing and the murder weapon was already in the room.
He added: “We would submit the death must have resulted from a violent outburst of temper.”
Sentencing Naseem, Judge Christine Laing QC said: “Christina Abbotts was described by all as full of life, close to her family, interested in people, supportive of her friends, living life as fully as possible and just a lovely person to be around.
“She was a much loved daughter and sister. Her loss to her family and to her many friends is immeasurable.
“She had chosen to earn her money in a business that is as old as time and one that has always carried with it huge risks and danger as this case sadly demonstrated.
“No doubt you presented to her as a well-educated businessman looking for a good time.
“Sadly however that was far from the whole picture and your unstable work situation was undoubtedly causing you significant stress.
“You were clearly in significant debt but had clearly become obsessed with escorts and had been spending on them well beyond your means.
“We may never know what prompted you to attack Christina Abbotts that night but I am quite satisfied it did not involve an assault by her on you.
“Your attack was of extraordinary ferocity. The terror of her final few minutes of life is unimaginable.”
She told Naseem he showed ‘utterly callous disregard’ for Christina.
Naseem was jailed for life and must serve a minimum of 19 years. The time he has already served in custody will be taken off the figure.