A husband who hacked his brother-in-law to pieces was caught when a severed thumb 'fell from the sky' after being dropped by a bird, a court heard today.
Mohammed Riaz, 33, allegedly kidnapped Mahmood Ahmad, 41, and tortured him to death in an attempt to track down his estranged ex-wife Nahid Ahmad.The family that preys together stays together?
He enlisted the help of five accomplices to kidnap, imprison and murder father-of-two Mahmood with a mechanical butcher's saw, St Albans Crown Court heard.
His remains have never been found and the gang was only arrested after a member of the public found Mahmood's severed left thumb in a car park.
A prosecutor told the jury that CCTV footage captured the digit falling mysteriously from the sky and police believe it might have been dropped by a bird which had picked it up.
Riaz, of no fixed abode, denies murder, conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to imprison and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Sharif Mohammed, 37, Faisal Chowdhury, 18, Arnold Alexander Yousaf, 18, and Armizada Hussain, 37, all pleaded not guilty to murder and conspiracy to imprison.
Chowdhury and Yousaf pleaded not guilty to the further charge of conspiracy to kidnap and Mohammed and Hussain denied conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Riaz's sister Sabra Sultana, 36, from Ilford, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to imprison and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.