A millionaire New York businessman has admitted strangling his British girlfriend to death in a hotel room before hanging a ‘do not disturb sign’ on the door after they met on a Muslim dating site.
Property tycoon Sammy Almahri, 45, dramatically changed his plea on the second day of his trial at Cardiff Crown Court this morning and admitted murdering 28-year-old Nadine Aburas.
He had earlier admitted unlawfully killing her, but had denied murder. He now faces life in prison.
Miss Aburas was found dead on New Year’s Eve by hotel staff at Future Inns hotel in Cardiff Bay- after Almahri had fled the scene in her car and driven to London Heathrow Airport in a bid to evade justice.
The jury were told yesterday that Almahri, who had claimed he worked for the FBI, fled the country after the killing and was eventually arrested in Tanzania.
Ms Aburas’ body was found at the Future Inns hotel in Cardiff Bay by the duty manager at lunchtime on New Year’s Eve 2014.
The hotel room had been locked and there was a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door.
Almahri had fled to Qatar in the Middle East and then on to Tanzania but was caught three weeks later.
He at first denied murder by claiming he was driven by the ‘Voice of God’ in his head.
But his trial was halted at Cardiff Crown Court when he suddenly admitted the murder.
She had lived alone in her own flat in Cardiff and met Almahri on an internet dating site called MuslimMatch.com.
The pair had a two-year romance travelling between UK and New York at least three times.
But Almahri became ‘besotted’ by Ms Aburas – showering her with money and expensive presents.
Prosecutor Roger Thomas said: ‘He paid for mobile phones and a car. She was living off jobseekers allowance.
‘There’s no doubt the financial benefits were attractive to her.’
She returned home with an injured lip from their last meeting and then began seeing other men in her hometown.
Almahri became ‘increasingly jealous’ then began bombarding her with abusive messages.
The court heard he warned her: ‘You will be in hell.’
He discovered she had seen another man before sending her messages calling her a ‘hooker’ and a ‘whore’, the court was told.
The court heard he contacted one of her brother’s Jamal on Facebook to threaten to send him pictures of his sister.
He also sent her a phone message of her naked saying: ‘I am going to post these around a Facebook you hoe.’ The court heard the message was seen by another brother Aman.
Almahri travelled from the U.S. to see Ms Aburas – but he was punched by one of her brothers. Another brother told him to ‘stay away from my sister’ before taking him to Cardiff railway station.
But he downed a bottle of gin and a dozen shots of tequila before luring Ms Aburas into the Future Inns hotel.
He strangled her, washed her body, placed her hands together and faked a suicide note pretending to be from her.
Shortly after 3am on December 31, he left the hotel and travelled in her car to Heathrow Airport. He booked a flight at 10.35am he took a flight to Doha in Qatar.
Her body was found at around 12.20pm on New Year’s Eve by the duty manager – and police were called.
The court heard Almahri as eventually located in Tanzania and arrested on an Interpol arrest warrant on January 19 before being returned to Britain.
Almahri claimed he was suffering from ‘abnormality of mental function’. He claims he was in a psychiatric state of hearing ‘the voice of God’ telling him to kill Nadine.
The court heard Almahri initially claimed he was not guilty of murder because his responsibility is diminished by mental illness. The trial was due to last four weeks – but was halted when he pleaded guilty.
Mr Thomas said: ‘This was the killing of a defenceless woman by a jealous and dangerous man.’
Almarhi was remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced next month.
After the hearing, Ms Aburas’ mother Andrea Aburas said: ‘Justice has been done for Nadine.
‘We wish to thank everyone who has assisted us in this tragic period in our lives.
‘I ask now that we are given time to breath and remember our beautiful girl.’