Akshar Ali and Yasmin Ahmed were found guilty on Tuesday 16 January, at Leeds Crown Court of the murder of Sinead Wooding in Leeds in May 2017 and were sentenced to life imprisonment Vicky Briggs was also found guilty of assisting as an offender and was handed a four years sentence.  Two other defendants were acquitted by the jury of assisting offenders.

Akshar Ali was Sinead Wooding’s partner, but their relationship was coming to an end in early May 2017.  On 11 May the couple were at Yasmin Ahmed’s house.  An argument ensued between the couple. Sinead Wooding never left the property alive.

An examination of blood found in the cellar at that address, taken together with other evidence, was to reveal that she had been murdered in that location on Thursday night, 11 May.  Her body was stored there for over two days.

The defendants Ali and Ahmed engaged in a substantial operation to cover up the murder, including cleaning the cellar and moving and attempting to destroy the body. Sinead’s partially burned body was discovered in woodland to the north of Leeds on the third day after the murder.

Vicky Briggs was Ahmed’s housemate: she assisted in the cleaning of the scene of the murder in the cellar and in the destruction of blood-stained clothing from the murder on a bonfire.

Duncan Ritchie from the CPS said:

“Sinead Wooding was killed with brutal ferocity. Calculated plans were made to destroy the evidence of this dreadful crime, and her body was stored for over two days in a cellar before being transported in a borrowed vehicle under cover of darkness to Adel Woods, near Leeds.  There it was partially destroyed by fire.

“Forensic scientists discovered blood staining in the cellar of Yasmin Ahmed’s house: the blood bore the DNA of Sinead Wooding.  Analysis of the blood spatter patterns indicated that Sinead Wooding had been killed in a ferocious attack involving at least two weapons.

“Although the injuries revealed that they were most likely a hammer and a knife, the actual weapons have never been identified.  Once the murder had taken place, Ali and Ahmed attempted to cover up their crime by sending each other a series of false text messages, pretending that Sinead Wooding had left the house unharmed.

“In court the CPS was able to show that the couple’s relationship had been volatile and that Akshar Ali had been violent and controlling towards Sinead Wooding.

“This violence reached its brutal climax on the night of 11 May, when Sinead was murdered.  We hope that the verdicts reached in this case are of some comfort to Sinead’s family and friends.”