In a shocking turn of events, 23-year-old Maher Maaroufe recently pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his 19-year-old girlfriend, Sabita Thanwani.
The tragic incident occurred on March 19, 2022, in Clerkenwell, central London.
Maaroufe, originally from Tunisia, denied committing murder, attributing his actions to diminished responsibility resulting from his diagnosed schizo-affective disorder.
Allegations of Supernatural Beliefs
During the court hearing at the Old Bailey, disturbing details emerged about Maaroufe’s state of mind at the time of the incident.
The court heard that Maaroufe, a cannabis smoker suffering from paranoia and hallucinations, believed that Thanwani had transformed into a male devil before his eyes on that fateful night.
Dr. Christian Brown, a consultant psychiatrist treating Maaroufe at Broadmoor maximum security hospital, revealed that Maaroufe was apparently unaware of his actions during the violent act.
Unraveling the Psychological Landscape
Dr. Brown elaborated on Maaroufe’s account, stating that he sensed wrongdoing only minutes or hours after the offense.
The psychiatrist highlighted the extreme level of violence and attributed Maaroufe’s subsequent erratic behavior, including wearing women’s clothes, going into hiding, and headbutting a police officer, to his psychotic illness.
The Tragic Discovery
The police were alerted to the incident at Arbour House in Sebastian Street when a neighbor overheard Thanwani pleading with Maaroufe to stop, expressing difficulty breathing and fearing for her life.
Upon entering Thanwani’s room, officers discovered her lifeless body with 18 cuts to her face, neck, and chest. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 6 am.
Maaroufe’s Flight and Legal Status
Following the crime, Maaroufe, wearing a balaclava, fled the scene.
He was later found by the police sleeping under tarpaulin in a garden shed, where he resisted arrest by headbutting a detective constable.
Notably, Maaroufe had legally entered the UK but faced deportation as an overstayer in August 2019.
Despite applying for asylum, his legal status remained unresolved.
Legal Proceedings and Future Sentencing
The court accepted Maaroufe’s plea, and he will not face trial for murder. In addition to manslaughter, he pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker.
Maaroufe, appearing in court with four dock officers, was assisted by an Arabic interpreter and has been remanded back into custody.
His sentencing is scheduled for December 8 at the Old Bailey.
The tragic case raises questions about the intersection of mental health, criminal responsibility, and the adequacy of support systems.