Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Sickening moment banker shrugs and ‘pretends to be sad’ after murdering escort

A high-rolling banker shrugged his shoulders and faked sadness as cops interviewed him after he bludgeoned a £2000-a-night escort to death in a cocaine-fuelled rage.

Zahid Naseem, 50, battered Christina Abbotts to death after paying her for sex on her 29th birthday in a flat in Crawley in 2019.

Christina was struck 13 times to the back of the head with a pestle kitchen utensil.

The father-of-two initially told police he couldn't remember what happened during interviews in which he was seen pretending to look upset.

Video footage shows the killer sitting with his arms folded and his head down before later resting his head on his hand and turning away from officers.

When asked how Christina sustained her horrific injuries, Naseem said: "I just don't know, that's why I'm shocked."

The freelance investment consultant, who could earn up to £250,000 in a year, claimed he acted in self-defence.

But expert analysis of his filmed police interview reveals clues to his web of lies.

Dr Cliff Lansley told Discovery's Faking it: "The claim he doesn't know is being contradicted by a single-sided shoulder shrug.

"This is subconscious, it's not intended for you to see."

A head shake, eye flickers and his posture also convinced investigators that Naseem was "very clear about what happened in that room and he's lying to us".

Dr Lansley said: "When the brows raise and the mouth arches, it creates a signal of sadness. And when we feel it, that's what happens.

"But when you want to pose sadness, you can create the same arch and pretend you're sad to get pity and some mercy when you're in the wrong by jutting your chin and pursing your lip.

"If you ask a child to pose sadness, they do what we call a sulk, and this is what he's doing.

"He's doing a sulk pose on his mouth. His chin raises and his lip pouts out with a little frown.

"This combination is what we can pose sadness or sulking. It's not going to convince anyone to have pity at this point."

Dawn Archer, professor of linguistics, also said there were several indicators that Naseem was "really struggling" with the questioning.

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"One is the fact there are a significant number of long pauses throughout, sometimes two seconds in length, often four seconds in length, and up to eight seconds in length," she said.

"That's a long time to pause before answering. He's either unsure of what to say and/or he's thinking about what to say next."

Despite his initial insistence, Naseem later claimed he unleashed his assault in self-defence after Christina tried to strangle him during sex.

However a court found him guilty of murder and he was jailed for life with a minimum of 19 years for the brutal, prolonged killing.

Christina, who was born in the West Midlands and lived in London, was found after she failed to turn up to her 29th birthday party in South Kensington.

She is thought to have been dead about 12 hours before she was discovered.

Naseem was also discovered lying on the sofa in the next room "feigning unconsciousness and memory loss".

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But he unknowingly gave tell-tale signs to his guilt, experts said.

Dr Lansley said: "He was just pretending to be slightly out of it to give him that space and distance from the difficult situation.

"That seems to be giving him a calm state, and if we look at the monitor in the room, his heartrate is at 76 so he's not panicking, he's quite comfortable that he's safe as long as he pretends to be half asleep or unconscious.

"But he's not fooling anyone here."

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