Died 12th October 2013
Ahdieh Khayatzadeh (46) was burned to death on 12th October 2013. She was attacked at her hair salon, the Venus Hair and Beauty salon, in Stirling, Scotland. She died at Forth Valley Royal Hospital the same day. She was born in Iran.
In June 2014, Ahmad Yazdanparast (61) Ms Khayatzadeh’s former husband, was found guilty of her murder. He too was Iranian.
Yazdanparast doused Ms Khayatzadeh with petrol then set her alight. She suffered appalling burns, but lived long enough to tell Steven Morgan, a paramedic, that her ex-husband had carried out the attack because she had divorced him.
Firefighters who brought Ms Khayatzadeh out of the building alive said she was in “horrendous” condition, so badly burned that they couldn’t tell if she was male or female, and “very much conscious”. Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith asked firefighter Gary Collie if he remembered saying in a statement to police that she looked like a mannequin, and he agreed. Mr Collie said: “Just because of the injuries she had. They were just terrible.” The prosecutor asked if he had encountered injuries like this before and he said: “Yes, many times, but never in somebody who was still alive.”
Following her death, Ms Khayatzadeh’s family said a “huge void” had been left in their lives. They described her as a “wonderful woman who was devoted to her family and spent every spare minute she could with them”.
Judge Lady Wise described the case as “very serious and distressing” and a “horrific attack”. She told Yazdanparast that he would face a life sentence for the murder.
Detective Inspector Bryan Burns, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “The horrific nature and consequences of this crime has had an immeasurable impact on Ahdeih’s family and I would like to praise their strength, courage and support during the investigation.”
The court heard that during the attack, he scattered cards around the salon accusing Ms Khayatzadeh of committing adultery, with hand-written messages in English and Farsi reading “enough is enough” and “game is over”. He then poured petrol over Ms Khayatzadeh’s head and body and set fire to her.
Footage released by the Crown Office shows Yazdanparast buying petrol then entering the salon and leaving after setting it on fire. Detectives found traces of petrol on Ms Khayatzadeh’s clothing and on a piece of plastic in the basement salon – hours after Yazdanparast had been seen buying fuel from a local petrol station.
Yazdanparast had a previous conviction for attacking Ms Khayatzadeh. She had also previously contacted police over threats he made to kill her and pour acid over her face.
Ms Khayatzadeh separated from her husband in 2010 before divorcing last year. Yazdanparast told the court that his wife was becoming “westernised”, adding: “In this country divorce is quicker than getting a driving licence. That’s not right.”
During the divorce proceedings in 2013 he was found in contempt of court after screaming, ranting and wailing, conduct a judge at Stirling Sheriff Court described as “bizarre”. There was also a dispute about a flat that should have been sold after the divorce and Yazdanparast was due back in court the week after the murder.
During the trial Yazdanparast claimed the container he was seen carrying into the salon contained milk and that he acted in self-defence after being assaulted. He claimed Ms Khayatzadeh had thrown something at him, and that he had felt a burning sensation. He said was crouching down near a sink in the basement salon. He went to help her but there was an explosion. He told the court she was “not on fire” when he left the salon.
Yazdanparast claimed that his former wife had been having an affair with Iranian Yaser Furughirad. But Mr Furughirad, who worked at a bed and breakfast premises owned by Ms Khayatzadeh and Yazdanparast, denied this and said he was “just a friend” to the victim.
One of Ms Khayatzadeh’s twin daughters Glara (21) told her father’s trial: “I know 100 per cent there was absolutely no relationship. It’s an excuse. There was no relationship and he knew that.”
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC.