Cricklewood man jailed for life for murdering mother-of-three

Student battered his girlfriend with a fire extinguisher and strangled her in kitchen

A student has been jailed for life this afternoon (Friday) after he was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in their Cricklewood home.

The Old Bailey heard Houssam Djemaa, 23, battered 34-year-old Jacqueline Barrett with a fire extinguisher and strangled her in their kitchen flat in Anderson Court in Whitefield Ave in December 10 last year.

Djemaa, an Algerian with dual nationality, had admitted her manslaughter but denied murder.

After killing the mother-of-three, Djemaa, a student at the College of North West London, ransacked the flat and sold Ms Barrett’s TV and her two-year-old son’s Nintendo Wii to get cash to flee.

But, he returned to the address several hours later and called the emergency services saying he had attacked his girlfriend and that she was unconscious and not breathing.

Jurors heard the couple had a tempestuous relationship and Djemma had warned Ms Barrett not to look at or talk to men on social networking website Facebook.

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Ms Barrett’s mother Angela told the court she had noticed that Djemaa was controlling and Jacqueline was ‘on edge’.

On the day of the murder they had argued after Ms Barrett accused him of seeing another woman after she went though his mobile phone.

He claimed Ms Barrett threatened to contact a ‘don in the Turkish Mafia’, picked up a knife from the kitchen and hurled racist abuse at him.

He said: “I lost my temper. I picked up the fire extinguisher and I threw it at Jacqueline, quite hard.

“I picked up the fire extinguisher and hit her again.”

He admitted strangling her afterwards.

Paramedics called to the scene found her lying on her back in the kitchen wearing a T-shirt.

A post mortem revealed she had bruising to the scalp, face, neck, and shoulders and there was evidence she had been asphyxiated.

Today he was sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 15 years.

Detective Inspector Andy Chalmers, investigating officer, said: “Tragically Jacqueline died in the hands of her boyfriend during a brutally violent attack. Jacqueline has been described by her family as a loving daughter and a devoted mother to her three children.

“I hope that today’s conviction brings some comfort and conclusion for Jacqueline’s friends and family, as they start to re-build their lives.”

Paying tribute to her daughter Angela Barrett said: “I have been struggling to come to terms with what has happened, I keep thinking she is coming home and can’t believe it. I don’t think any of us have accepted what has happened.

“Her youngest child keeps crying for his mum, he is 4 years old, he keeps asking if she is coming back. He talks to her picture every day and believes Jacqueline is in heaven and talks to the sky to get messages to his mum

“Hassan has taken a young beautiful vulnerable mother and left her children without her.”