LONDON: A former high-flying auditor who said the devil told him to execute his sister has been detained under the Mental Health Act after psychiatrists said the killing was “entirely attributable to the defendant’s mental illness”.
Khalid Ashraf, 32, strangled his older sister Sarah Ashraf in his flat in East Ferry Road, Docklands, East London, on January 5 2019 following a “fierce struggle” after hearing a voice tell him to “do the right thing”.
Ashraf, who has paranoid schizophrenia, was arrested by police when concerned neighbours spotted blood stains outside the flat and raised the alarm.
According to Met Police, Ashraf, originally from Pakistan, was arrested on suspicion of murder and later told police: “Satan asked me to murder her.” He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a previous hearing, and was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday to an indeterminate hospital order under the Mental Health Act.
Outlining the case, prosecutor James Mulholland QC said Ashraf had worked as an auditor for KPMG for eight years but had stopped working there in October 2018.
The court heard Ashraf, a non-practising homosexual, was diagnosed HIV positive in 2011 which led to depression. Mr Mulholland said 35-year-old Ms Ashraf had visited her brother’s flat to help him prepare to move out, having been a “mother figure” in his life.
But the court heard Ms Ashraf’s boyfriend Fareed Ahmed received a call from her phone via WhatsApp later that afternoon which caused concern. The prosecutor said: “When he picked it up, he heard crying. The call lasted seven seconds before disconnecting.
Mr Mulholland said Ashraf later told police he remembered the whole incident and that he had killed his sister, stating: “Satan whispers into people’s ears and he used manipulation and lies to commit acts.”
A psychiatric report said Ashraf was “suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning” at the time of his sister’s death, and found the killing was “entirely attributable to the defendant’s mental illness”. The report said his culpability for the killing was “very low”.