‘I know the truth of that night’: Mother of Sabina Rizvi speaks out after inquest finds police not implicated in murder

The mother of a woman shot dead outside a police station in 2003 has said her family are the victims of ‘”systematic injustice” after an inquest found cops were not implicated in her daughter’s death.

Sabina Rizvi, 25, was murdered after leaving Bexleyheath police station on March 20, 2003, at around 2.20am. Her boyfriend, Mark Williams, who was a passenger in the car, was shot twice, but survived.

Sabina’s mother, Iffat Rizvi, from Merton, claimed police officers knew there was a risk to her daughter and could have taken action to prevent her death. But on Tuesday, a coroner told jurors there was no evidence the police were at fault.

Speaking to the South London Press, Ms Rizvi said: “I’m still in shock that the jury were not able to comment on what happened to Sabina. 

“I know the truth of that night.”

Paul Asbury was convicted of Sabina’s murder and the attempted murder of Mr Williams in November 2004. He was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and was released on licence in December 2023.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Asbury accepted responsibility for Sabina’s murder but refused to name the two people who fired the shots.

Asbury told the court Sabina was “caught up in the middle” of a plan to shoot Mr Williams, who was a criminal rival. 

Sabina had been called into the police station on the night of her murder after Asbury reported his Audi had been stolen. Sabina had recently bought the car from Mr Williams.

Ms Rizvi said: “I knew something was wrong when they called her in. The police used my daughter as leverage to get Mark into the station.”

Mr Williams, who drove the Audi into the police station to meet Sabina, was arrested on suspicion robbery as he matched the description of one of the car thieves.  

Sabina Rizvi (Picture: Leigh Day, family handout)

He was also arrested on suspicion of theft of a bullet proof vest he was wearing at the time.

Mr Williams was bailed pending further enquiries and the vest was not returned to him. 

Minutes after Sabina and Mr Williams left the station, Sabina was killed by a bullet that went through her neck.

The inquest heard that police had intelligence that Asbury was a ‘gun runner’ and that he was in contact with officers at Bexleyheath police station throughout the evening of the murder.

Ms Rizvi said: “We feel vindicated by facts about police action and inaction that have come to light through this inquest. This continues to reflect the systemic injustice we have faced since Sabina’s murder.”

Ms Rizvi said the family only received key evidence into the case in the last seven months, most of which was redacted.

She said: “What we have seen is shocking and the public must see it. If they don’t I feel I have not only failed Sabina but I will have failed the public.

“Sabina was the heart and soul of our family. Since that terrible night when her life was taken, the devastating impact continues to be felt deeply by us all.”

Following the coroner’s decision to hold a full inquest, the IOPC began a re-investigation of the circumstances that led to Sabina’s murder.

IOPC director Steve Noonan said: “We found issues around the supervision of an inexperienced officer which resulted in Mr Williams making a call while detained resulting, it is believed, in a message being passed on to Asbury. The evidence did not indicate misconduct by officers.”

Met Commander Stephen Clayman said: “Firstly, our thoughts and sympathies are with Ms Rizvi’s family. 

“The details relating to any death following police contact are rightly scrutinised. It is my sincere hope that the evidence heard during the inquest will bring clarity to the circumstances of the heartbreaking loss suffered by Ms Rizvi’s loved ones.”

Pictured top: Sabina Rizvi (Picture: Leigh Day, family handout)

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