A man who brutally stabbed his wife to death in front of their two young sons screamed abuse at her family as he was jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court.

Hajrudin Hasanovic, 34, killed his estranged wife, Cassandra, in a street in Bognor last summer after he lost a custody battle.

He was convicted of her murder after a three-week trial and ordered to serve at least 18 years behind bars before he is considered for release.

But as he was led to the cells he suddenly started shouting at his dead wife's family and friends who were sitting in the public gallery only feet away.

He yelled: "You killed her. You are bastards all of you.

"My children will never forgive you for what you have done to me and Cassie."

There was an angry exchange between him and some members of her family before detectives stormed into the dock to force Hasanovic down the steps to the cells, while relatives were left in tears.

Hasanovic killed his wife as she and the children were about to be driven to the safety of a women's refuge by her mother.

Mrs Hasanovic, 24, was terrified her husband would kill her and just hours before she was murdered she asked the police to escort her to the refuge, but she was told it was not possible.

She had just finished packing the car for the journey to the safe house when Hasanovic launched the fatal attack with a kitchen knife in Normanton Avenue, Bognor, on the afternoon of July 29 last year.

He had learnt he had lost his custody battle for their children and was being deported to his native Serbia.

Mrs Hasanovic, known as Cassie, was dragged from the car, repeatedly stabbed and left lying in a pool of blood while her frightened sons, who were in the back-seat of the vehicle, looked on.

Her mother, Sharon de Souza, stood helplessly nearby desperately trying to call the police on her mobile phone.

Hasanovic denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He claimed he had not intended to kill her.

But the jury of three men and nine women unanimously convicted him of the cold-blooded murder after considering their verdict for seven hours.

Judge Richard Brown told him: "I am satisfied on the evidence in this case that you clearly planned to kill your wife and you armed yourself for that purpose.

"This was an horrendous act of violence committed in a public place in full view of your children, who you claimed to care so much about. In killing her you not only took her life but you deprived those boys of their mother and devastated her family and friends."

The judge told him he had tried to hide behind a cloak of depression. He said: "You didn't even have the courage to give evidence during this trial."

During the trial Mrs Hasanovic's mother, who had sat through each day, told the court her daughter has been "besotted" with Hasanovic when she married him. She said: "She loved him very much. Until the day my daughter was murdered she loved her husband but she was frightened of him and frightened he would hurt the children."

Mrs de Souza was living in Nyewood Lane, Bognor, at the time of the murder but since then has moved to Australia with her grandsons.

During the trial the court heard the Hasanovic and his wife married in September 2003 but she suffered regular physical and mental abuse throughout their relationship which turned her from being bright and bubbly to a "petrified" young woman.

She told her family: "He is going to kill me."

In May 2007 she ended their marriage after complaining to police he had attacked her.

She feared he would snatch the children and take them Serbia so she flew with them to Australia, where she was bought up and still had relatives.

During her stay he plagued her and her family with texts and phone calls demanding to see his children and threatening to kill her. But she was forced to return to the UK after Hasanovic took legal action to gain access.

Mrs Hasanovic, who had lived in Portsmouth and Dover with her family, arrived back in Britain in February last year and stayed with her mother in Bognor. But despite a court granting a non-molestation order banning him from contacting her, the threatening calls continued.

Just before the fatal attack, she had won a residence order and Hasanovic, who had arrived in the UK in 2000 illegally but after his marriage was given a spousal visa, had been informed he would be deported to Serbia.

Hasanovic did not give evidence at his trial but a psychiatrist told the court he was suffering from severe depression at the time of the killing.

Hasanovic rang 999 after the attack and told police: "I've done something bad."

He claimed he had not intended to kill her and had the knife with him because he used it to help repair his dentures when they fell out.