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Stepney woman hacked to death with machetes during visit to Bangladesh

PUBLISHED: 12:30 06 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:58 06 August 2013

Rehana Begum, with her son Rakib, who is now 12

Rehana Begum, with her son Rakib, who is now 12

NIGEL HOWARD

A mother was hacked to death with machetes in front of her 12-year-old son by resentful relatives in Bangladesh, her family said.

Stepney housewife Rehana Begum was set upon by a group of eight men who reportedly stabbed her 18 times as she visited her elderly mother.

When Mrs Begum’s 15-year-old niece, Sunia, tried to step in to stop the violence, the bloodthirsty mob cut off her right hand.

Family members said Mrs Begum, a keen gardener, was murdered on Friday by relatives of her husband, who were angry that she had not sent money back to Bangladesh.

The 43-year-old, who volunteered weekly at the Harford Health Centre near her home in Eastfield Street, had saved for five years to visit the village of Patli in the Sunamganj region of the country. She was accompanied by her son Rakib and husband, Abdul Kadir.

Brother-in-law Angur Miah, of Smithy Street, described the killing, which happened as Rakib was learning to swim just yards away.

“All of a sudden the attackers came from behind,” Mr Miah said.

“She tried to move, but the first one stabbed her in the head. She slipped and fell down.”

Rakib was left helpless as he watched his mother being stabbed repeatedly by the mob.

A service at Stepney’s Redcoat Community Centre and Mosque drew a crowd of 1,000 people who paid tribute to Mrs Begum on Friday. Mr Miah described her as “good as gold”.

Neighbour Jean Watters said she was a “strong” woman who enjoyed tending to her garden.

“She was a lovely lady, and a popular lady,” added Mrs Watters.

The Foreign Office confirmed the death on Friday, adding that it was providing consular assistance to Mrs Begum’s family.

Two arrests have reportedly been made in Bangladesh.

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