The twisted mind of a ‘controlling, violent psychopath’ who annihilated his young family and tried to pin blame on wife
31st July 2022
Sameer Syed, the man due to stand trial over the murder of his wife and two children before his prison suicide last month, was planning an “explosive” defence laying the blame for the tragedy solely on his murdered wife.
In a 38-page handwritten prison document, obtained by the Sunday Independent, Syed outlines in a rambling and twisted narrative that his wife — who he admitted to strangling to death — was ultimately responsible for her own demise.
He also denied he murdered their two young children, daughter Asfira Riza (11) and son Faizan Syed (6), alongside his wife Seema Banu (37) at their Dublin home in Rathfarnham in October 2020.
Had he not taken his own life, Syed planned to claim in court that he was “provoked” into strangling his wife to death because she had killed their two young children.
This claim is “completely and utterly rejected” by garda investigators.
“Sameer Syed was a man who was terrorising his wife. He was up on criminal charges of assaulting his wife and she had a barring order against him. There is no doubt about what he did — he murdered his wife and two young children.
“He committed the worst crime imaginable. He was a controlling, violent psychopath. He ended his own life before gardaí could outline their case against him and see him jailed for life,” according to a senior security source.
“I’m not shocked that he was going to try and blame his wife. He was a man whose depravity knew no depths.”
In the document, Syed outlines his life story. He details how he met his wife Seema in their native city of Mysuru in India, and how he fell in love with her. He goes on to write at length about her alleged manipulation of him into marriage and how his strained relationship with her family worsened over the years.
The couple went on to have two children but the marriage was troubled, he writes. Syed then temporarily relocated to Dubai for work, while his wife and children remained in India, though often visited him.
He claimed to have unearthed evidence that Seema began having affairs with other men in India. These claims are entirely unsubstantiated.
The couple and their young children relocated to Ireland in 2019, a year before the triple murder. But the family had not been living in Ireland long when Seema separated from her husband.
She later obtained a barring order against him after he viciously attacked her. The serious assault took place in May 2020 and led to Seema losing consciousness and being hospitalised.
The assault case, with Seema as a witness, was due to come before the courts the day after the bodies were discovered in the family home on October 28, 2020. The case could not proceed because Seema, who was both victim and chief witness, had been murdered.
The Sunday Independent understands the prosecution was due to present a series of videos during Syed’s murder trial of his wife’s recorded testimony in video calls to her family in India, where she outlined her concerns that her husband would kill her.
In response, Syed was due to claim that he “happened upon the murder scene of his two children” and strangled his wife to death in response to her killing the children, citing provocation.
Syed had engaged the services of specialist criminal courts solicitor Phelim O’Neill to represent him.
Mr O’Neill declined to comment when contacted about the specifics of his client’s proposed defence before his prison suicide last month.
It is understood Syed also sent a series of video recordings from jail to his legal team, during which he made unsupported claims about his wife and the circumstances of the triple murder.
In his document, Syed claims his wife “choked herself” previously in attempts to frame him for assault, leading to garda investigations. “I regret my decision to give her a chance to change after 2018 [when he alleges she had an affair]…The gardaí say I meticulously planned this [triple murder].
“They keep telling me to say what happened but I stayed quiet because I wanted them to find the truth. Because I don’t know why my wife did the unspeakable. The gardaí instead of finding the truth, took the easier path to put me behind everything that happened.”
Syed goes on to write that he was such a skilled cyber security expert that if he had killed his family, gardaí would never have been able to detect his crimes.
“I am a highly qualified cyber security expert with 14 years of field and working experience. If I had planned any of this… I would have left no digital footprint whatsoever to point towards me…”
A source close to the case agrees that Syed was a skilled IT expert. It is understood he managed to hack his wife’s phone and was listening to her conversations in “live time” in the weeks and months before her murder.
“He made full admissions to strangling her to death but claimed she killed the kids. This is what would have emerged during his trial had he not killed himself in the Midlands Prison,” the source said.
“This is an untruth and it is despicable of him to try and besmirch the memory of this woman, a dedicated mother to her children.”
It is the garda’s case that Syed staged the scene of the triple murder to make it look like a murder-suicide carried out by his 37-year-old wife.
He also dressed in women’s clothing to make covert visits to their family home in south Dublin during a five-month period in 2020 when he was on bail after attacking his wife and causing her serious harm.
It is believed he wore a hijab going to and from the house in Rathfarnham where the murders took place on the day of the killings in a bid to conceal his presence.
Syed was the only suspect in the murder of his wife and two young children. He was found dead on June 9 in his prison cell at the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise, Co Laois, just days before he was due to go on trial for the three killings.
Gardaí believe the pre-planned murders were the culmination of a campaign of domestic abuse, including physical violence. They believe Syed was angered and felt dishonoured after separating from his wife, who was about to give evidence against him when the assault case went to court.
He left a tap on in the house where the murders occurred in an apparent bid to ensure the remains were discovered.
Gardaí suspect this was part of his plan to make it appear as if his wife killed the children and then herself and he wanted the remains to be found quickly.
The bodies were discovered at the flooded family home on Llewellyn Court, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, on October 28, 2020, though the killings had taken place several days earlier. Neighbours became concerned when they had not seen Seema Banu or her children for a number of days and rang gardaí.
When members of the Armed Support Unit went to the house and forced their way inside, the victims were found in the upstairs bedrooms.
All three had been strangled with ligatures. After the discovery of the bodies, a garda alert was released in an attempt to establish the whereabouts of Syed on the basis he could have been involved in a serious crime and might also be armed.
Syed later voluntarily met with gardaí but was not co-operative. In his writings, he repeatedly claims his wife and her family were trying to “set him up”. He says this was being done so they could take possession of property the couple owned in India.
“My wife married me because I was making good money, [she] separated me from my parents to manipulate and control me,” he writes.
“I am sure that [her family] provoked my wife against me… She felt insecure and was afraid I would divorce her.
“So instead of utilising the chance I gave her to change our future, she took me as a threat who knew her true identity and her dark secrets, which is why she was trying to set me up.”
Gardaí and the Inspector of Prisons are conducting investigations into the death of Syed in prison custody, in line with protocol.
“An entire family was wiped out, including two children,” said a source familiar with the case. “There is only one person to blame, the husband and father of this family. His traditional role was to protect his loved ones at all costs. He did the opposite. The name of the only person responsible is Sameer Syed.”