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Pakistani guard sentenced to life for murder of Austrian-Filipina Andrea Bayr

31 January 2018

Bayr was killed with an electric drill
By Vir B. Lumicao

A Pakistani security guard has been sentenced to life in jail by a High Court judge for the gruesome murder of a 25-year-old Austrian-Filipino bar waitress at a construction site in Tuen Mun nearly two years ago.

“This is a brutal and horrific killing. She had several wounds. She had a drill bit protruding from a wound in her face,” said Judge Kevin Zervos, before imposing the life sentence on Husnain on Jan 31.

The sentencing of Safdar Husnain, 28, came a day after a seven-man jury found Husnain guilty of murder, despite his claim of being in a state of drug-induced psychosis when he committed the crime.

Husnain said he killed Bayr after “she became a witch who tried to strangle him”.

But the jurors disbelieved him and found him guilty of murder by a vote of 6 to 1.

Zervos said the jury rejected the defense case that the killing was done unintentionally by a man with diminished responsibility due to drug-induced psychotic syndrome.

Instead, the jury relied on the testimony of prosecution witness Haresh Khan, a friend of Husnain; and forensic expert Dr Lam Chi-chung. They also took into account the victim’s multiple injuries.

Khan said he was with the couple in the guardhouse on the night of Mar 28 and 29, but went to the toilet around 2am and, on his way back, heard shouting coming from the container nearby.

He said he rushed into the container and saw Husnain hitting the already bloodied Bayr. He tried to separate them but failed. So, Khan, himself bloodstained, ran outside to seek police help.

The police officer who first reached the scene said the green container had been splattered with blood. There was a trail of blood leading to the spot where he saw the defendant sitting on the ground, his arm locked around the neck of Bayr and still hitting her with the electric drill. 

Zervos said forensic expert Lam, who investigated the crime scene and took blood samples, suggested the attack began inside the container, contradicting Husnain’s tale that he was chased outside the guardhouse by the victim, who had become a witch.  

The judge said the jury rejected Husnain’s claim that after taking the drug “ice” before the attack, he heard strange voices telling him he would be killed by his lover.

The defense case rested on two psychiatric experts’ testimony that Husnain’s chronic addiction to the drug “ice” and cannabis had caused biochemical changes in his brain that led to mental abnormality.

Defense lawyer David Boyton said in his summation that his client’s diminished responsibility due to his drug-taking made the killing unintentional. He thus urged the jury to rule the case as manslaughter.

In mitigation, Boyton said the defendant was born in Hong Kong to parents who came to the territory in 1970. He was educated up to Form 1 at age 16. He had a clear record and was the breadwinner.

Husnain’s female relatives wailed as he was led away by his police escorts.

Outside the courtroom, the victim’s mother, Wilma Bayr, said she was happy with the outcome of the trial. “Masaya ako at nakamit na ni Andrea ang hustisya. Matatahimik na siya,” she told The SUN.

She said she had been told by her lawyer that he would help her file a civil case for damages after the trial.

Too late a wish for victim’s mom    
Wilma Bayr

Andrea Bayr, the victim of a gruesome killing by his alleged drug-crazed Pakistani lover, would probably still be alive today if her mother managed to send her back to the Philippines a few years ago to become a movie star.

Sana pinapunta ko na lang siya noon sa atin, kahit nag-artista siya sana,” Wilma Bayr told The SUN wistfully during the trial of her daughter’s killer in the High Court.

Andrea, who was fair, slim and pretty, worked as a bar waitress but did modelling on the side at the time of her death.

Her Pakistani boyfriend, Safdar Husnain, had been sentenced to death at the High Court over her killing.

Wilma said she came to Hong Kong nearly 30 years ago and worked as a domestic helper for five years. He last employer was surnamed Bayr, an Austrian 20 years older than her who offered to marry her. They had two children, the twins Andrea and Alex.

But the husband died 24 years ago when their children were just 4 years old, and Wilma returned to her hometown of Tacloban in Leyte where the twins studied in their primary years. The kids later returned to Hong Kong to continue their studies.

Wilma said she could not come to terms with what Husnain had done to her daughter.

“Grabe ang ginawa niya kay Andrea,” the victim’s mother said, adding that she would not have known of the details had she not been asked by the prosecution to attend the 10-day trial.

“Noong minsan, pinag-usapan kung paano siya pinatay, napaiyak ako kaya ako umalis. Naalala ko kasi siya, naaawa ako sa kanya,” the elder Bayr said.

News reports quoting police said Safdar attacked the woman in a fit of rage after she told him  she was  moving in with a Caucasian man.

But Wilma Bayr doubted this, saying her daughter never fancied white-skinned men. - VBL

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