London: A man accused of shooting dead his heavily pregnant Indian-origin ex-wife with a crossbow will face trial next year, British media reported on Thursday.
Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 50, has been charged with the murder of 35-year-old Sana Muhammad.
The victim, known as Devi Unmathallegadoo before her remarriage, was attacked at her home in Ilford, east London, on Monday. Doctors performed an emergency caesarian to deliver her son, who was due to be born in about four weeks.
The defendant appeared before Judge Nicholas Hilliard at the Old Bailey via video link from Pentonville prison, north London, on Thursday. He spoke only to confirm his name, age and British nationality, The Guardian reported.
During a hearing at the Old Bailey, the defendant, who has yet to enter a plea, was told a provisional trial date of April 8, 2019 had been set.
A plea hearing on February 6 was also scheduled, the BBC reported. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks. The defendant was remanded into custody.
Sana was taken to hospital with an abdominal wound and pronounced dead, hours after the attack. Her son was delivered by Caesarean section and "remains in a stable condition in a critical care unit", police said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May Wednesday said laws around crossbows would be reviewed after Unmathallegadoo's death.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said in parliament Sana's death had left people in shock "up and down the country".
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Streeting said: "I know I will speak for every member of this House in expressing our deepest condolences to the family and our best wishes to the baby for a speedy recovery.
"Given these weapons, like the crossbow, used to kill my constituent are readily for sale online, can I urge the Prime Minister to urgently and seriously look at expanding the Offensive Weapons Bill so that we can toughen the scope of the laws governing the sale, the possession and the use of these deadly weapons."
May responded by saying crossbows were "subject to strict controls", but the government would "consider the risk to public safety and whether further measures are needed".
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Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 18:32:24 IST