A bus driver who attacked his wife with a table leg and ladder then claimed she had threatened to throw him out for having Covid-19 has been found guilty of murder.
Hussein Egal, 66, used a variety of household items during his “frenzied” assault on 57-year-old Maryan Ismail.
He admitted carrying out the killing in South Mall, Edmonton, north London, during lockdown in early April last year but denied it was murder.
A jury at the Old Bailey took just two hours to find him guilty of the charge on Wednesday.
During the trial, prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said it was a “brutal, frenzied, sustained attack”.
She said Egal used a hammer, a knife or knives, pots and pans, a table leg and a ladder to strike his wife’s back, chest, legs and head.
Ms Ismail, a school cleaner, was later found with 68 separate injuries.
The Somali defendant had offered a number of explanations for the killing, telling one police officer he had coronavirus and he should stay away.
He claimed that when he told his wife he was infected, she said he could get out and die on the street, the court heard.
According to the defendant, he responded by telling her: “I will kill you first.”
Ms Hunter told jurors Egal showed no signs of having Covid-19.
She also rejected his claim to have been mentally ill at the time, saying he had the presence of mind to wash a bloody meat cleaver and dispose of his wife’s mobile phone.
Ms Hunter said the attack “bore all the hallmarks of temper and rage”.
In his defence, Egal denied he used Covid-19 as a “convenient excuse”.
Asked if he had lied about having mental health problems to explain what he had done, Egal said: “If I was not out of my mind or crazy would I have killed my wife? For no reason I killed my wife.”
Judge Mark Lucraft QC remanded the defendant into custody to be sentenced on Friday.
Detective Sergeant Lucy Carberry, of the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement: “The officers who discovered Maryan’s body were faced with a truly terrible scene. Maryan had suffered extensive injuries and the turmoil and disorder in the flat showed there had been a considerable disturbance.
“Egal claimed he was defending himself, but there was no indication of him suffering any injuries.
“This was a wanton act of violence, carried out with sheer ferocity. It is important, particularly in the current climate with isolation and periods of ‘lockdown’ that all of us do everything we can to stop domestic violence.
“If you are suffering from domestic violence I implore you to seek help. If you feel in danger, always call police. If you suspect someone is suffering from domestic violence make the phone call and tell police. That call could save a life and save you from a lifetime of regret.”
Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247, or via its website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk