A PAKISTANI cricketer who dodged jail for battering his wife after claiming he was joining a top cricket club has been sentenced to 18 months.
Lawyers of Mustafa Bashir, 34, told the court he had been offered a contract by county cricket champions Leicestershire as a professional player shortly before his arrest – on condition he didn’t go to prison.
But it emerged Leicestershire County Cricket Club had never even spoken to Mustafa Bashir – or offered him a contract.
Today the cricketer was jailed at Manchester Crown Court today for domestic violence.
Bashir left his wife Fakhara Karim, 33, a broken woman after he repeatedly beat her, berated her for wearing westernised clothing, tried to turn her against her own family, and would call her a “slag” when she went out socialising with female friends.
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During the stormy marriage, he struck Miss Karim over her back with his cricket bat because he felt she spent too long talking to a friend on the phone – saying: “If I hit you with this bat with my full power then you would be dead.”
Judge Richard Mansell QC heard that Bashir, who plays for a local cricket league in Oldham, Greater Manchester, forced his wife to take tablets and drink bleach and told her to kill herself during a row over him going on a cricket tour to the Netherlands.
Miss Karim eventually went to police and said: “I now feel strong enough to report this to the police. I did fear for my life, he told me he was going to kill me.”
The 34-year-old was spared a prison sentence after telling the court he was due to start a new job at Leicestershire cricket club[/caption]
But Bashir was freed after a judge said he was ”not convinced” the victim was vulnerable as she was ”an intelligent woman with a network of friends”.
In a statement she added: “Before I met Mustafa Bashir I was a confident, active and humorous person. I looked after myself and liked dressing up.
“After the abuse my confidence was very low and I hid myself away from family and friends.
“He didn’t like me socialising and I couldn’t accept my friends requests to go out.
Once we split it took months for me to get my self belief back and I am not back to the person I was before.
“Once we split it took months for me to get my self belief back and I am not back to the person I was before.
“I can’t see how I could trust another man again after what happened to me. I dreamt of being in a happy relationship and I do not feel now that that will ever happen with someone else.”
Bashir admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm but his lawyer claimed if he was spared prison he would be able to accept a place at Leicestershire.
In mitigation Bashir’s lawyer Hugh McKee said: ” He has continued to play professionally in a local cricket league but of some importance certainly to him is if he is allowed to keep his liberty he will be employed by Leicestershire as a professional.
”He was about to sign the contract when he was arrested.”
But the club strongly denies signing Bashir, saying the claim is “completely false”.
A spokesman for Leicestershire County Cricket Club said: “The club are bemused by these stories.
“Any references to Mustafa Bashir signing or being approached to sign for Leicestershire County Cricket Club are completely false.
“The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player.”
The judge told the court he did not believe the victim was vulnerable as he handed Bashire a suspended jail term[/caption]
Leicestershire County Cricket Club has won the English county championship three times and produced a string of England stars including David Gower, Ray Illingworth and Peter Willey.
Passing an 18-year jail term suspended for two years Judge Mansell QC ordered Bashir to attend a workshop entitled ”building better relationships” pay £1000 costs and banned him from contacting Miss Karim indefinitely under the terms of a restraining order.
He told Bashir: ”I am not convinced she was a vulnerable person. Sometimes women who moved her from their country become trapped in a relationship where they lose their support network of family and friends and cannot speak the language.
I am not convinced she was a vulnerable person.
Judge Richard Mansell QC
“This court will not tolerate violence in a relationship of this nature. It is a very fine line between imprisonment and a suspended sentence.”
Manchester Crown Court was told the pair met in their native Pakistan and married in 2013.
But Bashir was said to be a ”controlling and dominating” husband who told his wife what she could spend her money on and what she should wear, who she could see.
Prosecutor Roger Brown told of the moment on New Years Eve 2014 the couple were at home when a row broke out about Miss Karim speaking on the phone in their living room
He said: “He slapped her so hard again that she fell on the floor and lost consciousness.
“Later she said to him: ‘it’s over please leave me alone’ but he called her a slag, and strangled her until she was struggling to breathe.
“He grabbed a cricket bat that was in the bedroom and her over the back with it.
”He said to her ‘If I hit you with this bat with my full power then you would be dead’.”
A domestic abuse charity has today hit out at the “soft sentence” handed to the cricketer.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said: “The horrific assaults and controlling behaviour that Fakhara Karim endured are completely unacceptable; and a softer sentence on the basis that ‘she is not a vulnerable woman’ is shocking.
“It is a complete fallacy that only a certain type of woman can become a victim of domestic abuse. In fact, perpetrators target women of all ages from all sections of society.
“Abusers often isolate their partners from family and friends, undermine their confidence or take control of their money as a way of ensuring they can control them.
The horrific assaults and controlling behaviour that Fakhara Karim endured are completely unacceptable; and a softer sentence on the basis that ‘she is not a vulnerable woman’ is shocking.
“This is why it is so important for judges to understand the nature of domestic abuse and the impact on victims.
“There should be zero tolerance of perpetrators and absolutely no excuses.
“That is why at Women’s Aid we work hard to raise awareness of domestic abuse and offer training for judges to understand the full implications.”
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