Murder trial latest: Sheffield killer husband called travel agent during attack on wife

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A jealous husband called a travel agent to make plans for his getaway during the brutal murder of his wife, a court heard.

Thahi Harroba Manaa made arrangements to collect his travel documents when he was 17 minutes into the sustained attack on his victim, Sara Al Shourefi.

When the hour and 45-minute torture was over, he tried to make childcare arrangements with his sister and also called the travel agent back to double check his documents were ready and waiting, a jury at Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Manaa, aged 37, is accused of attacking his wife with screw drivers, an electric drill, two metal bars, a wooden shelf and a knife at their home in The Oval, Firth Park, at around 10am last March 4.

Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC said: “During the time of the assault, it seems that having already asked his travel agent to obtain a visa for him – he was going to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca – he was now saying that he wanted his travel documents back that very day.

“He was telephoning the travel agent about this matter at 10.17am. If the neighbours are right, that’s while the attack was in progress.

“After the violence had ended he was ringing back the travel agent in order to ensure that the travel document was ready and waiting for him.”

Dr Adrian Brown, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Manaa after the alleged murder, said it was clear Manaa suffered from an abnormality of mental function.

He said: “It’s in no way impossible at all that during the most psychotic killing imaginable for them to undertake very normal activities.

“There’s a great number of cases of people who complete a variety of activities such as telephoning people and making meals.

“It seems to be very clear that the defendant is a man with a long history of very significant jealousy, and violence towards women associated with that jealousy.

“He hasn’t told me why he killed his wife, he hasn’t said anything about what was in his mind at the actual time of the killing.”

The court heard Manaa first came into contact with mental health services in his home country of Kuwait in 2003.

He had made several displays of paranoid behaviour leading up to Mrs Al Shourefi’s death, such as believing there was a bomb in his car, seeking a DNA test as he believed his brother was the father of one of his children, and believing that one of his children was Jesus and the other the Devil.

Manaa has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder.

The trial continues.