To view original article click here
20:16, 16 APR 2018
Sami Salem told paramedics “I killed them” after Arena Saeed, 30, Shadia Salem, seven and Rami Saeed, four, were found dead, a court heard
Sami Salem and wife Arena Saeed (Image: liverpoolecho.co.uk)
A dad has admitted suffocating his wife to death and drowning his two young children in the bath, but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Sami Salem told paramedics “I killed them” after Arena Saeed, 30, Shadia Salem, seven and Rami Saeed, four, were found dead in the family flat where “every room” had been doused in petrol, a court heard.
He was found by his brother Nabeel Salem in the family’s flat, who told the jury he had been ‘acting paranoid’ for weeks.
The court also heard that the defendant was suffering with schizophrenia and had described hallucinations and other symptoms days before the killings.
The jury heard a post-mortem found Mrs Saeed had injuries to her teeth and lips consistent with a hand being held over her mouth, while the children had injuries consistent with being drowned.
Giving evidence today Salem’s brother, described taking his brother to see a mental health crisis team in the Royal Liverpool Hospital only 10 days before the killings.
He told the jury: “He was acting really abnormal, really weird.
“A few days before that he opened up to me, saying he was really paranoid, people were looking at him, people in windows were watching him.”
Shadia Salem, seven and Rami Saeed, four, were found dead in the family flat (Image: liverpoolecho.co.uk)
The court also heard that that he was suffering from anxiety and paranoia and they went to the crisis mental health unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Nabeel said his brother was prescribed Diazepam and discharged, with the promise of home visits and a referral to his GP, reports Liverpool Echo.
He told the jury his brother “was in love” with Mrs Saeed, who he had known since his teens, and told the jury he had never seen anything to suggest he would harm his family.
Nabeel said the couple married in their native Yemen in 2009 and they had children before she was able to join him in England in 2016.
But Gordon Cole, QC, prosecuting, told the jury text messages between Mrs Saeed and Salem suggested there had been “issues” in the marriage.
He said: “We say when you look at those issues, it was a killing that was planned and it was a killing that allows you to draw inferences that all was not well between the defendant and his wife.
“Whether he was controlling her, whether he was upset about what she wanted to do, that is for you to decide.”
One message from Mrs Saeed to Salem read: “Sami please open internet for me, I want to see my family.”
Another read: “What’s wrong with you, we are human being, you gave me headache, give me access to internet, I want to see my family.”
the court heard today that Salem had been suffering from schizophrenia (Image: liverpoolecho.co.uk)
But Mr Cole told the jury that a whatsapp message was recovered from Ms Saeed’s phone, sent to her friend Asrar Alshabi that read: “My husband is treating nicely and I don’t know how to treat him in the same way.”
He says that there was no internet router in the family flat, and that Mrs Saeed would access the internet by tethering her mobile phone to Salem’s phone.
Mr Cole told the jury that on the morning of the killings Salem took a taxi to a garage on Sefton Street, Toxteth, where he was seen on CCTV filling a plastic container with petrol before returning home.
That evening, a neighbour of the family called gas engineer John Hughes, reporting the smell of gas from next door.
Mr Hughes could smell petrol coming from the flat and knew that Salem’s family lived in nearby Canning Street, so went to ask for help accessing the premises.
The defendant’s brothers Nabeel and Hussan Salem, sister Nada Salem and mother Shadia Kader were all called to Falkner Street and eventually gained access, only to be greeted with a horrific scene.
Mr Cole said “every room” of the flat had been doused in petrol, a smoke alarm had been covered with black masking tape and a large carving knife and rolling pin were discovered in a washing machine.
The oven had been pulled from the wall and the gas had been left on.
The court heard Nabeel found the two children lying on the bed, clearly dead, while his brother was slouched against the side of the bed.
Mr Cole told the court that the bathroom floor was very wet when paramedics and police attended.
He told the jury he dragged Sami from the room and performed CPR on him outside, where he regained consciousness.
The court heard Salem later told those helping him that he intended to set the flat on fire and wanted to “leave this world,” before telling paramedics: “I killed them.”
Salem has declined to give evidence in the trial.
Giving his plea, he told the court: “Not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.”
He made the same response for the charges of murdering Shadia and Rami.
Dr Mohammad Rahman, who assessed Salem on October 2017 and March 2018, told the court he believed the defendant was suffering from schizophrenia.
Speaking to defence lawyer Benjamin Myers, Mr Rahman said Salem had told him he had used alcohol and cannabis, but concluded this did not have “any part to play in what happened.”
When asked if he believed Salem was suffering from any particular illness, Dr Rahman replied: “Yes I did…schizophrenia…my opinion was from November 2016 to December time there was a change in his presentation.”
He said it came on after a build up, adding: “There were multiple reports of him feeling anxious, having panic attacks which he reported to family members, becoming increasingly isolated. The neighbors have reported some unspecified change in his family life.”
Mr Myers says that Salem described hallucinations and other symptoms after the hospital visit days before the killings.
He asks Dr Rahman whether he may have felt those symptoms but not disclosed them, to which he replied: “He said to me he did not want to disclose those symptoms because he didn’t want his brother to know the extent of his mental illness.”