Domestic abuse victim feared authorities would ‘take baby away’ if she reported behaviour

A young mother killed by her “obsessive” partner feared social services would “take her baby away” if she kept reporting his “controlling” and violent behaviour to police, her aunt told an inquest.

Raneem Oudeh (pictured), 22, was murdered outside her mother’s home in Northdown Road, Solihull, West Midlands, shortly after midnight on August 27 2018.

She was killed alongside her mother Khowla Saleem, 49, by her ex-partner Janbaz Tarin (pictured), then aged 21, who the jury heard had once carved her name into his arm with a razor.

On her wedding day, he would tell her “in our culture we don’t have divorce… the day you leave, I will kill you”.

At inquests into the two women’s deaths resumed at Birmingham and Solihull Coroner’s Court on Monday, an 11-member jury heard evidence of Ms Oudeh and Tarin’s relationship from her aunt, Nour Norris.

Senior coroner Louise Hunt also told jurors they would hear evidence of West Midlands Police’s response to several phonecalls made by Ms Oudeh to the force about her abusive partner before her death.

In her evidence, Ms Norris told how Raneem had fled the war in Syria to join her mother and family already living in the UK in 2014.

She said that after arriving, her “ambitious” niece enrolled at Solihull College.

It was in her English study group she first met class-mate Tarin.

Ms Norris described how Tarin “would buy her gifts, do things for her”.

“At the beginning, she thought it was just a friendship, then that led to stalking her, hassling her,” she said.

“She had to report him to the college to leave her alone. He was suspended (from the college).”

Later, through her family, Ms Norris told how Ms Oudeh “met a guy” who she then went on to marry, getting pregnant with her child.

However, that relationship failed before the birth and she ended up having the baby “by herself”.

“She felt very vulnerable”, Ms Norris said.

By the summer of 2016, Ms Oudeh was “down, upset – a single mum at the age of 20”, and still being “stalked” by Tarin, Ms Norris added.

After her niece moved to a flat in Kingshurst Road, Solihull, Tarin “slowly, gradually” convinced Ms Oudeh to rekindle their relationship.

She claimed Tarin told her niece “this time you are mine”.

On April 2, 2017, Tarin and Ms Oudeh had an Islamic marriage, but Ms Norris said the wider family sensed something was wrong.

Shortly after the wedding, Ms Oudeh looked “disturbed” as she told her aunt about a remark Tarin made to his new wife, as they signed nuptial paperwork.

“He turned around to her and whispered in her ears ‘in our culture, we don’t have divorce, now you’re my wife, the day you leave, I will kill you’,” said Ms Norris.

After the wedding, Ms Norris said: “He (Tarin) became very controlling and became quite obsessive, that she was his belonging.”

She added: “He wanted her to dress and talk in a certain way, share the bedroom in a certain way.”

The marriage started to break down again after Tarin travelled to Afghanistan at the end of 2017, where it emerged he had another wife and three children – with a fourth on the way.

In January 2018, Ms Oudeh told him the relationship was over but he started stalking her again and “would sleep in the car outside her house, for days,” Ms Norris said.

On one occasion, he sent Ms Norris an image on Facebook of his left arm, in which he had used a “razor” carving Raneem’s name.

Ms Oudeh briefly got back with Tarin, but by April 2018 wanted rid of him for good – which is when matters “really escalated”.

Ms Norris claimed her niece tried to be direct with Tarin, because her repeated calls to police led to little action, with visits from social workers leaving her “scared” they would remove her child.

“She called police a number of times before and… they didn’t really listen to her properly and didn’t take her seriously, or they blamed her her”, she said.

“They’ll say to her ‘you’re wasting our time, you need to deal with him yourself, kick him out – you can’t call us all the time. Ask him to move out’.”

Ms Norris also told how Ms Oudeh was “concerned about her baby”, and social service’s involvement.

“She wanted to co-operate with social workers but was too scared that if she tells them everything, they will take her baby away,” claimed Ms Norris.

In August 2018, Ms Oudeh applied for a non-molestation order, but on the night of August 26, Tarin followed Ms Saleem and Ms Oudeh to the Rotana Shisha Lounge.

Tarin “slapped” her in the restaurant, then followed them as they left.

Ms Hunt told jurors: “The police were called – their response, you’ll hear, was delayed due to a firearms incident.

“It was just after midnight Janbaz Tarin murdered Raneem and Khowla outside her address.

“He was subsequently convicted of both murders.”

The coroner told jurors they would go through seven tranches of phonecalls Ms Oudeh made to police between April and August 2018, to understand “how police responded and also how other agencies responded”.

The inquest continues.

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