Nick Britten, Telegraph (London), February 14, 2011
The bodies of Joy Small, 24, and the children were found in their flat the day after Aram Aziz, 32, was found dead at a beauty spot.
Friends of Miss Small yesterday described Mr Aziz as an “abusive monster” who had threatened to kill her previously and had once even poured petrol over her.
Police said the family were known to them and it is understood Miss Small, who had converted to Islam and was an active internet campaigner on the rights of Muslims, had installed a panic button at her flat.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said they had been in contact with Leicestershire police over the case but, based on the evidence known so far, no formal referral was required.
The body of Mr Aziz, who is believed to come from Iraq, was found by a park warden in woodland at Watermead Country Park, Leicester, on Friday afternoon.
The following day, officers visited his flat three miles away in Birstall, and found the bodies of Miss Small, their son, Aubarr, three, and daughter, Chanara, two.
Friends said the couple had split up last year, but had got back together again despite a history of violence by Mr Aziz.
Jennie Bland, 27, a close friend, said: “She was a good person, and a fantastic mum. Her husband was extremely possessive. He would beat her all the time, and tried to stop her seeing her friends. He’d poured petrol over her, tried to set her alight, and thrown a mirror at their son. He was an abusive monster.
“He didn’t like me because I knew what he was like. She could be herself around me. I met her in May 2008, when they’d already been together for a few years.
“But she eventually found the strength to finish with him last summer. She was doing really well, with the support of her friends.
“But she’d had to have a panic button installed in her flat. I stayed over one night and Joy had a hammer under her pillow; she was that scared of him.
“When they split up, he’d left a message on her answer phone saying he would kill her and the children.
“He said she could never have another boyfriend.
“I went away last July, and when I got back she was quiet. She said she had a new boyfriend, but I had my suspicions she was back with him. In November, I found out she was, and we fell out. I couldn’t stand by and let it happen. She had been warned by police and social services that if she got back with him, they’d take her kids off her.
“I didn’t want that to happen but I wish I’d followed my instincts now and said something. If I had, she might still be alive.”
Post mortem examinations are expected to be carried out during the next 24 hours.
Miss Small, who has a brother and sister, as well as four half-sisters and a half-brother, was born in Sheffield and lived in Grimsby before settling in Leicester.
She had an older son by her first marriage, to Javed Ghaznavi, 32.
Miss Small’s stepfather, Martin Small, who lives with her mother, Susan, in Northern Ireland, said: “We haven’t seen very much of Joy.
“She started living in a very Muslim area of Leicester and began living a Muslim life.”