Heartbroken widow’s appeal after lover knifed to death at flats

Zyrafete Rafiq with her daughter MaryAm at a press conference appealing for information about the murder of her husband
Zyrafete Rafiq with her daughter MaryAm at a press conference appealing for information about the murder of her husband
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THE HEARTBROKEN widow of a popular Sheffield dad knifed to death just yards from his front door broke down as she appealed to the public for help to catch his killer.

Cradling the couple’s 18-month-old daughter Maryam on her lap, Syrafete Rafiq, 23, appealed for anyone with information about the murder of her husband Zabi Rafiq to contact police.

Mr Rafiq, 30, died from a single stab wound to the chest after he was attacked outside the couple’s flat in Callow Mount Gleadless on Friday, May 29.

Her voice breaking, Mrs Rafiq, who is originally from Kosovo and met her husband in Sheffield 10 years ago, said: “Zabi was a much-loved husband and father.

“I am very sorry that he has been taken away from me and my daughter.

“He was hard working and well liked and he will be missed by his family and friends.”

Mrs Rafiq, who was flanked by two family liaison officers and senior investigating officer Det Supt Andy Thompson, said: “I don’t know why anyone would kill my husband.

“I would like to appeal for anyone with any information about the murder of my husband to contact the police.”

Det Supt Thompson urged members of the public to think back to the night of the murder.

He said: “It was in the early hours, the night after the Champions League final.

“We need a name or the names of the people responsible.

“Who arrived home after 4am that morning, maybe blood stained or maybe in an agitated state? Perhaps they spoke about it afterwards.

“I need someone to ring me with that name.”

Det Supt Thompson confirmed the Bankwood block of flats, where Zabi and his family lived was not covered by CCTV although some others in the complex are.

He said: “It maybe that no one has seen what happened. There’s no CCTV and most people are in bed at that time but I am appealing for anyone who has any information to contact the incident room.”

Det Supt Thompson said there had been a ‘great’ response from the local community.

He said officers had visited more than 260 flats and spoken to 350 people.

“Detectives continue to follow up numerous lines of enquiry,” he said.

“They are studying CCTV from the area, however, we have not traced a witness who saw a person being attacked in the early hours of May 29.”

Det Supt Thompson said the two men arrested and released on bail had been eliminated from the enquiry after providing alibis.

Mr Rafiq was not known to police and officers have failed to find anyone with a grudge against him.

Det Supt Thompson said with no obvious motive for the attack, they were still examining the theory he may have been the victim of a botched robbery.

He added: “We are looking at different motives. He was carrying cash and we are not ruling out the possibility that someone was waiting for him.

“We do know that nothing was stolen from him.”

Mr Rafiq, who had been married to Mrs Rafiq for around two years, worked at Pronto Pizza on Glossop Road.

Police know he left work at 3.45am on Sunday and was found by a resident returning home just 12 minutes later.

n Contact South Yorkshire Police on 0114 220 2020.