LONDON — Imtiaz Muhammad was putting a cardboard box in his family’s garden shed Monday morning when he found his wife’s ex-husband hiding there -- with a loaded crossbow.
When all was said and done, Muhammad’s pregnant wife, Sana Muhammad, 35, was dead and their tiny son, born by emergency Cesarean section, was fighting for his life.
The morning was a typical one in the family's home in Ilford, London, until Imtiaz Muhammad came across Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo in the shed, the grieving widower told London's Evening Standard.
"He stared at me. He was going to shoot, so I ran into the house," Imtiaz Muhammad told the Standard. "My wife was doing the washing up, (and) I was shouting, 'Run, run, run!'"
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Sana Muhammad was shot before she could get away. Her other five children, ages 1 to 17, witnessed the shooting, the Standard reported.
The Daily Mail reported that the three oldest children are Sana Muhammad's children with Unmathallegadoo. The two youngest are from her second marriage.
"I can't help thinking she took my arrow," Imtiaz Muhammad told the Standard. "Maybe it should have hit me.
“The kids were all there; it was horrific.”
Officials from the Metropolitan Police said Sana Muhammad was shot in the abdomen. She died a short time later at a hospital.
Unmathallegadoo has been charged with murder, police officials said. He remained in police custody Thursday.
No motive for the crime was given. The Daily Mail reported that friends of the Muhammads said Sana Muhammad, who went by the name Devi Unmathallegadoo during her first marriage, was previously Hindu and that her first marriage had been an arranged one.
Her marriage to her second husband, for whom she converted to Islam, was one of love, the Mail reported.
Medical staff were able to deliver the couple's son, who the arrow missed by inches. The Mail reported that the projectile was still lodged in Sana Muhammad's abdomen even as the baby was removed from his mother's body.
"The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby," Imtiaz Muhammad told the Mail. "The baby was due in four weeks. They operated with the arrow still in, because it would have been too dangerous to take out."
The baby, who has been named Ibrahim, was initially listed in critical condition, but Scotland Yard officials told the Standard that he has been upgraded to stable condition.
Unmathallegadoo is expected to stand trial for murder sometime next year.
Neighbors described the scene for the newspaper.
"I can hear the man screaming a lot, saying, 'Help, help,'" one man told the Standard. "He's knocking the doors, on the neighbors as well, he's asking for help, screaming for help."
Nisa Khan, who lives across the street, called the homicide a terrible thing. She was friends with Sana Muhammad.
"She was more like a sister than a friend. I knew her for a good seven years, ever since they moved there, we've known them," Khan told the Standard. "She was just a lovely lady, lovely mother, lovely wife. I never saw her being upset, she always had a smile on her face even in the hard times.
“It’s just horrible. Everyone goes from this world, we all go, but the way she’s gone, it just hurts.”
A GoFundMe page established by the Newbury Park community in Ilford is raising money to help Sana Muhammad's family. A local Muslim cemetery, Gardens of Peace, has offered its services to the family free of charge.
"Nothing can replace any loss, but we have come together as friends and as a community to provide additional support to the family," the page said.
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