A British man has been jailed for life after he shot his heavily pregnant ex-wife in the stomach with a crossbow as she tried to flee from his "brutal and evil attack".

London's Old Bailey heard that Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, killed Sana Muhammad, 35, after bursting into the home she shared with her new partner.

She suffered massive internal injuries but her unborn son Ibrahim miraculously survived.

Unmathallegadoo had hidden himself in a shed on the property that Muhammad shared with her new husband Imtiaz Muhammad when he was discovered by Imtiaz on the morning of November 12 2018.

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He had armed himself with two crossbows, bolts, a knife, duct tape, cable ties and a hammer, the BBC reports.

Muhammad shouted at his wife and family to "run, run, run" as the killer chased him into the kitchen and fired the weapon.

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The 35-year-old mother of five was hit by a bolt and rushed to hospital, where medics delivered her baby son with the arrow still lodged in her abdomen.

After the attack, the victim's husband told The Evening Standard: "I can't help thinking she took my arrow. Maybe it should have hit me. The kids were all there, it was horrific."

The arrow is said to have passed just inches from the unborn baby before his mother ran upstairs to get away, the arrow still stuck in her body.

Ibrahim survived the deadly attack. Photo / Supplied
Ibrahim survived the deadly attack. Photo / Supplied

Muhammad added: "The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby. 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 jury at the Old Bailey rejected Unmathallegadoo's claims that it was an accident and found him guilty of murder.

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In sentencing, Judge Mark Lucraft QC told the defendant: "You have carefully planned this attack. You had two loaded crossbows and I'm entirely satisfied you intended an attack on Sana and then on Imtiaz.

"One can only assume that you were jealous of their life together and the fact that they had formed a loving bond between themselves and with your children."

"Love marriage"

Sana Muhammad was born in Mauritius and had married Unmathallegadoo in an arranged Hindu marriage when she was 16 and he was 35.

The couple had three children before their unhappy marriage ended in 2012 when she jumped from the window of their London home and broke her ankle.

She applied for an emergency non-molestation order which barred Unmathallegadoo from the family home, which they jointly owned.

After the divorce, she met builder Imtiaz Muhammad and converted to Islam to marry him. She continued to live in the home with Muhammad and her children to Unmathallegadoo.

Sana and Imtiaz married seven years ago. They had two children together and were looking forward to welcoming their third. Photo / Supplied
Sana and Imtiaz married seven years ago. They had two children together and were looking forward to welcoming their third. Photo / Supplied

Friends described the new couple's union as a "love marriage" and said that the couple were happy.

They went on to have two children before Muhammad fell pregnant again.

"I would have done it"

The prosecution suggested Unmathallegadoo had planned to restrain the family and kill both adults and the unborn child.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo claimed the killing was an accident. Photo / Supplied
Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo claimed the killing was an accident. Photo / Supplied

Jurors heard that he had been planning the attacks for weeks, buying two crossbows which the judge said were later used to "devastating effect".

After shooting his ex-wife, his attack was stopped after his children disarmed him, with the killer telling his children: "'It would have been easier if you guys weren't here, like I would have done it."

"Soul mate"

After the guilty verdict, Imtiaz Muhammad paid tribute to his slain wife.

"She was very friendly, talkative and always made me laugh. She was my soul mate, my best friend, my wife, my companion and my everything and I love her dearly," the Daily Mail reported.

Pregnant Sana Muhammad was shot and killed with a crossbow. Her unborn baby boy was delivered by emergency Caesarian. Photo / Supplied
Pregnant Sana Muhammad was shot and killed with a crossbow. Her unborn baby boy was delivered by emergency Caesarian. Photo / Supplied

"Ram must have been very jealous of the life Sana and I had and that we were living a happy life."

Susan Krikler, from the Crown Prosecution Service, described the killing as a "cold-blooded and calculated execution" and hoped that the conviction provided "some comfort to those who loved and cared for Devi".

Unmathallegadoo was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 33 years.

FAMILY VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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