‘Man killed wife for cooking lentils’

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New York -

A US court was shown photographs on Tuesday of the battered body of a Pakistani woman allegedly murdered by her husband because she cooked him lentils rather than goat.

Noor Hussain, 75, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder after allegedly subjecting wife Nazar Hussain, 66, to years of abuse at their Brooklyn home.

Judge Matthew D'Emic, hearing the case at the Brooklyn Supreme Court, could make a decision as early as Thursday.

Hussain's defence attorney Julie Clark argues it was manslaughter, that he did not intend to kill her and thought it acceptable to discipline his wife of 21 years.

On Tuesday, prosecutors showed the court photographs of Nazar Hussain's swollen, bruised face, and of her body lying on a bed next to a blood-soaked wall on April 3, 2011.

Police detective William Simon told the court there was blood on the bedroom wall, floor and bed, in the kitchen, bathroom sink and on a mop in the bath tub.

Hussain initially told officers that his wife died after waking up in the middle of the night, vomiting blood and having breathing problems, before admitting to beating her.

Simon said Hussain had cuts and what appeared to be teeth marks on his hands. “Finally he says 'I killed her. Lock me up. Arrest me,'“ Simon said.

But during a one-hour video interview later that day, shown to the court, Hussain admitted only to hitting his wife “once or twice” on the arm and “once” on the lip.

“I asked her to make some goat, some meat. She said she was not going to make that, she was going to make something else,” he said speaking through an Urdu interpreter.

He beat her with a wooden stick used to stir laundry after she “disrespected me” and threw it out the window because he feared he would be tempted to do it again, he said.

He then calmly told officers she was completely fine, and that the couple prayed together before going to bed.

At 12.30am, he alleged she vomited blood three times, refused his repeated offers to call an ambulance and fell unconscious, before he telephoned his adult son.

His son telephoned 911 after arriving at his father's home to find his stepmother unconscious.

Vincent Maneri, an emergency medic, said he found Nazar Hussain with bruises on her head, a large laceration on her face and upper lip, as well as swollen and bruised arms.

Paramedics spent 25-35 minutes trying to resuscitate her in the early hours of April 3, but she never exhibited any sign of life, he said.

Neighbour Safida Khan told the court she heard the Hussains argue at least once or twice a week for years, and that she twice intervened, trying to pacify the warring couple.

On April 2, she said Nazar Hussain attended a religious gathering at her apartment, with a red mark on her cheek.

“I was told by her that he hit me with a phone and that's the mark,” a heavily veiled Khan told the court, speaking through the help of an Urdu translator.

She testified hearing Nazar Hussain “crying and yelling” and her husband “cursing and shouting.”

Hussain was arrested on April 3, 2011 and held in custody ever since. He could be jailed five to 25 years if found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

According to a relative, he has lived in the United States more than 30 years and used to work at a gas station. - Sapa-AFP


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