Sabina Akhtar

In 2012, Refuge was called to give evidence as an expert witness at the inquest into the murder of Sabina Akhtar.


Sabina Akhtar was murdered by her husband Malik Mannan in September 2008, after experiencing years of abuse at his hands.

Malik had been ordered to stay away from Sabina after assaulting her in July 2008. After continuing to harass her, Malik was arrested on 7 September.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to charge Malik, and Greater Manchester Police released him with no bail conditions. Five days later, he killed Sabina by stabbing her through the heart.


What happened after Sabina’s death? 


Malik was convicted of Sabina’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The CPS issued an apology to Sabina’s family, saying: “We accept that the wrong decision was made not to charge Mr. Mannan at an earlier stage”.

Refuge worked closely with Sabina’s family to call for an inquest into the state agency response to the case. The inquest was held in November 2012 and Refuge was called to give evidence as an expert witness.


What did the inquest find?


The Coroner, Nigel Meadows, concluded that “serious and significant failings” had been made by Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Social Services and the CPS which “possibly” contributed to Sabina’s death.

Nigel Meadows made a number of recommendations to all three state agencies, designed to ensure that lessons were learned from Sabina’s tragedy.

Sadly, Sabina’s story is not an isolated one. Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the police and state response to domestic violence


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:


“Sabina’s death was a tragedy. The police repeatedly failed to grasp the severe danger she was in, despite knowing that her husband had brutally assaulted and strangled her, and threatened to kill her on more than one occasion. 

Social services also failed Sabina spectacularly. Despite receiving three separate referrals for her and her two-year-old son, they closed the case without even doing an initial risk assessment. The CPS failed to charge Sabina’s husband.”