Series 2 • What if it’s Not Murder?

This case looks into the 2007 conviction of Mindy Sanghera for murder. Jailed for the stabbing to death of 17-year-old Sana Ali, a 17-year-old who was 11 weeks pregnant. Sana was the wife of playboy businessman Sair Ali, a Muslim with whom Mindy was having an affair.

The case against Mindy Sanghera was largely based on circumstantial evidence – there was no forensic proof that she stabbed Mr Ali’s wife, Sana, 43 times and plunged a knife into her womb at her home in Manchester.

Sanghera is currently serving a minimum 14-year life term, at Foston Hall women’s prison in Derbyshire.

 

Here are the two sides cases:

Prosecution case: was that Mindy had gained entry to the house using subterfuge when Sana was alone, that she had brought a box of chocolates as a present, that she had also brought a knife, that she stabbed Sana and that she left via a kitchen window.

That on 11th May 2007 Mindy arrived at the address where Sana lived with her husband Sair, at his family’s home, to confront her and tell her that her husband had been in a two-year affair with her. An argument and fight occurred and Mindy violently stabbed Sana 43 times killing her. They state Sana fought back and as a result got defence knife wounds. Mindy then made her escape through the kitchen window. Prosecution found evidence of an up and a down footprint on the work surface. No blood found on any clothing worn by Mindy on the day, or her mobile or in her car. The knife was not identified as belonging to anyone, although Police state Mindy must have brought it with her to the scene. This make of knife was available to be purchased in shops in Birmingham and Manchester.

The police state Mindy did not have blood on her hands or clothes because she wore a full forensic suit; a mask, suit, two pairs of gloves and shoe covers.

They state Mindy disposed of the full forensic suit that she had brought in an incinerator at her hospital, there is no direct evidence to support this.

 

Defence case: That Mindy told at least three people she was going to see Sana and spoke to her closest friend Sheetal just before she went into the house to see Sana, and again immediately after she left the house.

Mindy states that she entered and left the house via the backdoor and took her shoes off. She climbed up on the work surface to shut a window for Sana and hence the reason why her footprints were found on work-surface.

Whilst she was in the house, Sana told Mindy she cuts herself as the only way to cope with the situation. Sana told Mindy she knew her husband was having an affair, but actually says it was with someone else.

There was no forensic link between Mindy and Sana and no wounds on Mindy’s body. Mindy is recorded on a petrol station cctv system on the morning of Sana’s death before she visits her, which identifies her clothing. Three days later after her arrest, the exact clothes that she wore on the Friday when visiting Sana were over a chair in her bedroom. They were seized by police and no blood is found on them. It is Mindy who tells her mum and then her dad on the Friday and Saturday that she had been to see Sana. It is having heard that Sana was dead that Mindy contacts the police to tell them about her visit.

The knife left at the scene next to Sana’s body, cannot be connected to Mindy and had no prints on it from her.

 

In Summary

The case was initially dealt with as a suicide and it was not until the postmortem examination that they decided the injuries amounted to homicide. It was from this point that police then looked for a suspect and, having ruled out the husband Sair, focused on Mindy.

Mindy’s account has been consistent throughout and she told her family and friends about the window and shutting it before it became a central strand of the police’s case.

The significance of the window as being the way Mindy left is because the police needed to show that Sana was dead by the time Mindy left. Mindy says Sana let her out the kitchen door and was alive, hence the reason the backdoor was locked. But the police say Sana was dead by the time Mindy left so she could not have let her out and locked the door after her. When the sister in law’s arrived, the back door was locked.

So, if Sana was dead when Mindy left then Mindy would have had to have left via another means, in their case the kitchen window.

Mindy admits to visiting Sana on that afternoon – however after a violent attack no forensic evidence linked Mindy to the crime – knife, blood etc.

But could there have been a miscarriage of justice? Does the evidence collected by the Police stand up to scrutiny? Or do you believe the truth is very different?

In this 5-part podcast we hear from many people involved in the case, including their family members, the police, lawyers and a leading forensic expert.

It’s then up to you to decide…

  • Did the pathologist and the police get it wrong?
  • Is an innocent woman behind bars?