Market stall trader, 41, guilty of strangling his 32-year-old wife

Market stall trader, 41, is guilty of strangling his 32-year-old wife to death while their three children were at school

  • Muhammad Ilyas of Ilford was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey yesterday
  • The post mortem found  Maria Rafael Chavex died of compression to the neck
  • Ilyas will be sentenced for the murder of his wife on July 1 

A 41-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering his wife while their three children were at school.

Muhammad Ilyas of Kingston Road, Ilford, was found guilty of strangling his wife to death at the Old Bailey on Friday, June 10.

The victim, Maria Rafael Chavex, 32, was found unresponsive at a residential property in Kingston Road on May 13 last year.

The pair moved to the UK in 2019 and at the time of her death, Maria was taking an English language course at a local college and Ilyas was a market stall trader. 

Muhammad Ilyas was convicted of his wife’s murder on Friday June 10, and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on July 1

Maria, 32, was attending English language classes at the time she died after moving to the UK in 2019

Police officers were called and London Ambulance Service also attended, but she was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.

The Metropolitan Police said initial investigations revealed no signs of a disturbance and no obvious injuries – but a post mortem found Mrs Chavex died from compression to the neck, likely caused by strangulation. 

An investigation by the force found she was killed on the afternoon of May 13 2021 while the couple’s three children were at school. 

Ilyas was arrested and interviewed about his involvement in Maria’s death. 

He initially denied killing Maria and told officers he believed she had died from natural causes. 

Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘Ilyas has not offered any explanation about the circumstances that led to his wife’s death and has refused to accept responsibility for her murder.

‘This is a tragic case that has left three children without their parents and I’m sure what they’ve been through will remain with them for the rest of their lives. My thoughts are with them and the rest of Maria’s family and friends.’

Ilyas will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, July 1.

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