Taxi driver tells court he dumped woman’s body to hide sleeping with her
by Sam Dimmer, Coventry Telegraph
Jul 20 2012
Emma Ewart and the canal where her body was found
A MARRIED taxi driver dumped a woman’s body in a canal because he didn’t want the community to find out he had slept with her, a court heard.
Mazhar Rashid, 43, tied breeze blocks around Emma Ewart’s body and put a plastic bag over her head before leaving her in a Bedworth canal last May.
But he denies killing her – claiming she died in her sleep at his flat.
During the fourth day of his trial for Miss Ewart’s murder, at Birmingham Crown Court, Rashid admitted having sex with the 27-year-old but says when he woke up the following morning she was dead.
And he claimed he had not pursued her, saying that Miss Ewart had made him “deviate from the right path”.
Rashid, who has admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice, said that he tried to hide her body because he didn’t want anyone to find out he had slept with another woman.
He said: “I was so frightened. If my community, my wife and my son found out my life would be ended.
“Because I was married they would ask why I had a woman in my flat and why she stayed overnight.
“I was thinking that they would abandon me. That’s why I moved the body from the flat.
“Not a minute passes when I don’t ask myself why I did it – why I hid her body. But it was because of my fear that my family and other people would find out that a woman had stayed in my flat overnight.
“What I did was absolutely wrong and I apologise to her family.”
Prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC dismissed Rashid’s account of events leading to Miss Ewart’s death, saying he was a “clever cunning liar”.
He asked Rashid to explain a series of phone calls between himself and Miss Ewart before the morning of her death.
But Rashid, who lived alone in a bedsit above a restaurant in Stoney Stanton Road, refuted accusations that he had pursued Miss Ewart.
He said: “I’m telling you I had no sexual interest in her. It was her who deviated me from the right path. She called me, she was interested.
“I did call her back but if I was harassing her she could have gone to the police. I have been married for ten years and I have only got one child. I am not that fond of sex.
“I have worked in this town for ten years and I have picked up many drunk girls and taken them (back to their homes).
“I never had any sexual interest in any of them. Has anyone ever complained to the council about me?”
Rashid also denied that he knew that Miss Ewart was an alcoholic, or vulnerable. He denies murder. T
The case is expected to conclude next week.
A TAXI driver accused of murdering a Coventry woman has denied killing her – claiming she was already dead when he woke up.
Mazhar Rashid, 43, said he felt “like his life had ended” when he realised that 27-year-old Emma Ewart had died in May last year.
But he denied having anything to do with her death – despite eventually dumping her body in a Bedworth canal, weighing it down with two breeze blocks.
Jurors heard that Rashid had previously admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice for trying to hide her body, dumping her purse and destroying the SIM cards for their mobile phones.
He gave evidence for the first time yesterday, describing how he met Emma and how she came to be in her flat on the morning she died.
They had first met in early May when Rashid, of Stoney Stanton Road, had driven Emma back from Coventry city centre to a hostel in Courthouse Green.
She had not paid the £5 fare – instead giving the Pakistani national her phone number and promising she would pay him the next day.
They exchanged phone calls for taxi services but didn’t meet in person again until later in May, when he picked Miss Ewart and a friend up after being sent by his employer Allen’s Taxis.
She called him again at 2.20am the day she died, asking him to pick her up and take her to a garage.
There he bought her alcohol and a bottle of coke, and, in evidence Rashid said that she told him to go back in to the shop and buy condoms.
The married father-of-one told the court: “She was flirting with me and wanted friendship. She wanted to stay with me and come back to my flat.
“I had no intention of having sex with her.
“I had no idea at that time why she wanted condoms.
“She was doing this action and saying she loved me.”
When they got back to Rashid’s flat he said that she had finished three drinks before he had taken her clothes off.
She then got into bed with him and they had sex.
When he woke up five hours later Rashid realised there was something wrong.
Speaking through an interpreter he added: “It was as if she was asleep. I put my trousers on and tried to wake her up but she didn’t wake.
“I removed a blanket from her and she was cold. Then I touched her mouth and these bubbles came out.
“I felt like my life had ended. Like I was in a vacuum.”
Rashid denies murder.
The case continues.