Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 15:06 UK

Wife killed by 'abusive' husband

Hajrudin Hasanovic
Hajrudin Hasanovic had been abusive during and after the couple's marriage

A husband stabbed his estranged wife to death in front of their two children and her mother after he was told he was being deported, a court has heard.

Hajrudin Hasanovic, 33, of Guston, Kent had lost a custody battle for the children, Lewes Crown Court was told.

His 24-year-old wife, Cassandra, and her sons were about to be driven to a women's refuge when she was attacked in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

Mr Hasanovic, of Prescott Close, denies murder but admits manslaughter.

The jury heard Mrs Hasanovic had voiced repeated fears to police and her family about threats and abuse from her Serbian-born husband.

He plunged a large kitchen knife into her chest on 29 July last year in her mother's road in Normanton Avenue, Bognor.

Mr Hasanovic was described as a "paranoid and jealous" throughout their five-year marriage. He had turned her from being bright and bubbly to a "petrified" young woman.

The couple's relationship ended in May 2007 after he was arrested and freed on bail on suspicion of attacking his wife.

Fight for custody

Philippa McAtasney QC, prosecuting, said the incident was a catalyst for Mrs Hasanovic to flee to Australia where she had relatives.

She hoped to fight for custody of the children from Australia but she and her family back in the UK were bombarded with threats by Mr Hasanovic.

In December 2007, an Australian court granted an injunction designed to stop Mr Hasanovic harassing his estranged wife.

But he initiated legal custody proceedings to be decided in the UK - and in February last year she returned from Australia with the children.

Ms McAtasney said Mrs Hasanovic was devastated at having to return, and told a relative: "He is going to kill me."

Panic alarm

Mrs Hasanovic went to stay with her mother and the defendant continued to bombard her with calls and messages.

The police were called on a number of occasions and attributed "high risk" status to the couple. A panic alarm was installed at the house.

A non-molestation order was imposed by Chichester magistrates, banning Hasanovic from venturing within 250 metres of his estranged wife or from calling or texting her.

On the day of the killing, Mrs Hasanovic made a statement to police about further breaches of his non-molestation order.

Then, as her mother was driving Mrs Hasanovic to the refuge, her husband appeared in Normanton Avenue.

He dragged his wife from the vehicle before stabbing her in the chest, buttocks and back, the court heard.

Later, Hasanovic called the police and told them: "I have done something bad. I stabbed my ex-wife."

The trial continues.

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