A SON has made an emotional appeal for people to help solve the murder of his mother in Oxford 20 years ago today.

Nasreen Akhtar, 29, was strangled at her home in Cobden Crescent, Grandpont, on Thursday, March 30, 1995.

The mother-of-four was found dead on the floor of the living room by her two youngest children, aged eight and nine, when they came home from nearby St Ebbe’s School.

Two decades later, police are reopening the murder investigation and Mrs Akhtar’s eldest son Imran Khan, who was 10 when his mother was killed, led the appeal.

He said: “My mother was a nice, gentle lady who loved her family. She was considerate, caring, compassionate and had everything to live for and was always pleasant.

Oxford Mail:

  • An Oxford Mail front page reporting the murder

“Her death has shattered the family. She has not been able to see us grow up or enjoy our happiness.”

The 30-year-old added: “What has made it even harder for us as a family is knowing that the killer remains unpunished.

“Twenty years is a long time to wait for justice.

“If the killer is reading, I would personally ask on behalf of my sisters, brother and family, that you look at your conscience and hand yourself in, so we as a family can get on with our lives.

“It is only a matter of time before you are caught and we will never give up until we see justice being done.”

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Describing her final hours, police said Mrs Akhtar walked her children to school and she visited a friend in Marlborough Road at about 9.05am for about 10 minutes before returning home.

At about 10.25am a binman went into the family’s back garden to collect the rubbish and saw the back door open.

A woman who was visiting knocked on the front door at about noon but did not get a reply.

When the children discovered her body at 3.05pm, a video recorder was missing from the living room, but the rest of the house remained undisturbed.

Police arrested her husband Hakim Khan and charged him with her murder on April 20, 1995.

But the trial at Oxford Crown Court collapsed and he was acquitted due to a lack of evidence. No one has been arrested since.

Mrs Akhtar’s family, who have since moved to the West Midlands, do not have any contact with Mr Khan.


Oxford Mail:

  • The home in Cobden Crescent, where Mrs Akhtar was murdered

This is the first time police have looked at the case in at least five years, head of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Investigation Review Team Peter Beirne said. 

He added: “The purpose of the appeal is to ask for people that potentially can assist us in that investigation to help by coming forward with what they saw or heard 20 years ago or subsequently.

“Allegiances may have changed over time and those who found it difficult to talk to the police at the time may now be able to do so.”

As well as the public appeal, police will look at items from the original investigation to see if there is any forensic evidence that can be used. 

Oxford Mail:

  • A police officers questions a passerby near the family home in Cobden Crescent in 1995

Mr Beirne said: “We hope that new evidence will be obtained that will allow the person responsible to be brought to justice.

“Hakim Khan will be part of the investigation, but we are approaching this with an open mind and open eyes. 

“We will speak to witnesses from the time, even if they have left the area. It will be easy to locate them and we will find them and talk to them.” 

Mark Pagel moved into his home on Cobden Crescent, near the Oxford City Council house where Mrs Akhtar lived, a year before the murder. 

He said: “We downplayed it a lot, most people thought it wasn’t really part of the street community.”

Anyone with information should call the police on 101.

Oxford Mail:

  • Police frogmen during their search of the Thames near Mrs Akhtar's home