An American property tycoon who murdered a woman he met on an internet dating site and faked her suicide has been jailed for life. Millionaire Sammy Almahri must serve at least 17 years in prison for killing British woman Nadine Aburas, 28, at the Future Inn hotel in Cardiff on New Year's Eve 2014.
After the killing, fantasist Almahri, who claimed he had worked for the FBI, washed her body before dressing her and placing her in bed with a suicide note. To further cover his crime he positioned a "Do not disturb" sign on the door and jumped on a flight to Qatar.
The 45-year-old met Aburas on internet dating site MuslimMatch.com in 2013 and showered her with gifts, including a car.
Aburas, from Cardiff, had even visited him in New York but returned from her trip claiming she had been raped, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
The claim was never followed up or pursued by the police and it remains unclear whether Aburas was the alleged attacker.
Relations turned sour once Almahri became convinced she was seeing another man in Cardiff. The jealous New Yorker threatened to post nude photographs of Aburas to Facebook, accessed her phone and sent her abusive messages, one saying: "You will be in hell."
The court heard how Almahri arrived in the UK on December 27, meeting Aburas in London before travelling to Cardiff where he had a fight with Aburas' brother who had learned about his threats over the naked photographs.
Almahri drank a large quantity of alcohol - including 12 shots of tequila – on the night of the murder and drove to Heathrow Airport using his victim's car, before boarding a flight to Qatar and eventually ending up in Tanzania.
Her body was discovered by a hotel worker the day after the murder. In a series of phone calls with police, Almahri said Aburas killed herself as she said she could not live without him. Almahri told police: "I am not a criminal. I don't kill her, she asked me to help her, yes, I help her... she had a little scratch on her neck."
A post-mortem examination found she had died from pressure to the neck and face. Almahri initially admitted manslaughter, but denied murder. But he eventually pleaded guilty to murder on the second day of his trial.
Sentencing Almahri, Justice Nicola Davies said, according to The Mirror: "You were said to be effectively blackmailing Nadine with the photographs in your possession. Only you know what took place in the bedroom which led to the murder of Nadine. On the account you gave psychiatrists the two of you had consensual sex.
"It is likely that you were jealous and possessive in your relationship with Nadine. In my view, the evidence demonstrates a relationship in which you demonstrated both jealously and possessiveness of Nadine."
Aburas's family said: "Nadine was a remarkable young woman, courageous, intelligent and loving. Her infectious laugh and the beauty she brought to our lives will be forever missed.
"Sammy Almahri tragically and maliciously ended a life with so much promise and only fully accepted responsibility when he realised the weight of the evidence against him.
"It is unimaginable for us as a family to understand the heinous crime that has been committed."