Man strangles his girlfriend to death in Walthamstow before withdrawing hundreds of pounds from her bank
Image by Met Police/MyLondon
Amani Iqbal, a 28-year-old marketing propositions manager at Sainsbury’s was found lying in the bathtub three days after her boyfriend, Jay Dawes, 28, killed her.
It is alleged that the young woman was strangled with a dressing gown tie at her home in East London by Dawes on New Year’s Eve.
Iqbal was last seen on CCTV visibly upset at the balcony of her flat in Walthamstow, shortly before Dawes dropped a text to his friend and saying that he’d “gotten rid” of his girlfriend.
An inquest at Waltham Forest Coroner’s Court heard that over a two-day period, the young man withdrew hundreds of pounds worth of money from her bank account in three separate transactions, drove her Fiat 500 and ordered pizza through her Apple Pay.
Dawes died on January 2, after crashing his car into a parked lorry in Cambridgeshire, which ultimately led to the discovery of his girlfriend’s body.
Police confirmed that no other person aside from Jay had entered the property during the time period when Iqbal had died and a post-mortem examination found that she had died from compression to the neck.
In a written statement, Iqbal’s mum Samina Iqbal said, “The circumstances around Amani’s tragic death are to this day unclear and our family are still in shock trying to make sense of such a sad and unexpected event.”
She continued to mention that her daughter wanted a long-term relationship and had started a relationship with Dawes, buying a two-bed flat in Walthamstow.
She added, “During this time, we often had them over and went to their house for lunch. However, I soon saw him undermining her friendships with her closest school friends by belittling them, which turned her against them to some degree.
After one year, Jay unexpectedly changed and decided he no longer wanted to be with Iqbal. She came back to live with me. I was taken aback by the fact they broke up but she never completely broke away from him. She kept speaking and sporadically meeting with him.”
Her mother also mentioned details about Dawes’s declining mental health, talking about his, “depression, instability, previous suicide attempts, his mental health, his lack of employment and growing debts”.
Consequently, Iqbal lent large sums of money to Dawes, leading her mother to believe that he “had only got back with Amani in 2019 after she bought a flat and he had nowhere to live”. She went on to admit that she did not feel that he was a “good influence” on her daughter.
Speaking on the behalf of the family, lawyer Rachel Barrett asked the court to reach the conclusion of unlawful killing. She said, “We do submit on behalf of the family that not only is it the most likely cause of Amani’s death, it is the only explanation given the evidence that we’ve heard. We’re not here looking at remote theoretical possibilities.
We heard from the pathologist that significant pressure was applied to Amani’s neck for 15 to 30 seconds with a ligature. It is an unlawful act, which was objectively dangerous and actively likely to cause harm and Amani died as a result.”
Jay’s family asserted that it would be “unfair to go on probabilities” and that he was “the most placid person”. Reaching her conclusion, Area Coroner Nadia Persaud said, “Amani Iqbal was found lying in the bath with a t-shirt that had been partially removed. A crime scene manager and a homicide team car attended. The crime scene manager noticed bruising to Amani’s neck that looked in keeping with strangulation.”
“A broken section of a dressing gown belt was found in the bathroom and was considered to have been used as a ligature. It was not found around her neck,” she added.
Whilst there was “no clear evidence of intent” to commit murder, Area Coroner Persaud stated she was “satisfied” that “placing a ligature around someone’s neck and applying a degree of force necessary to cause injury” could constitute manslaughter. She then concluded the inquest and offered her condolences to the family.
In a statement released at the end of the hearing, Iqbal’s family said, “At only 28 years of age, Amani Iqbal was sadly taken from us at the end of 2020 under very tragic circumstances. Amani was an incredible and vivacious young woman. She was an overachiever who without doubt would have gone on to do wonderful things. She touched the hearts of so many people around her, leaving behind a legacy of love and laughter. She is sorely missed by many.
The inquest draws to a close a long and painful process that we have had to face as a family. We thank our family and friends for their love and support during this time. The family respectfully request privacy to heal in peace after this terrible ordeal.”