A husband who stabbed his wife to death in a frenzied attack and then turned the blade on himself has been named locally as Makram Zakaria.

The Sudanese man and his wife Magda Bushra’s lifeless, blood-soaked bodies were discovered by their 19-year-old daughter just hours later.

The deaths at the flat in Hove are being treated as murder and suicide.

The Sudanese couple were members of a close-knit religious community, which was last night said to be in shock.

Details about the last minutes of the pair’s lives were yesterday being pieced together by detectives.

At about 5pm on Tuesday, the couple’s 19-year-old daughter returned home to a housing association flat in Southdown House, Somerhill Avenue.

She found her mother’s body on the sofa and her father’s body on the floor.

Mrs Bushra, thought to be 53, had suffered several stab wounds and a blow to the head with what police believe was a blunt instrument.

Mr Zakaria, said to be 65, also had stab wounds.

Detectives are investigating reports the couple’s marriage had been under strain and that they had been in the process of a separation.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, speaking at the crime scene yesterday, said: “My belief is the lady was attacked, possibly with a blunt instrument, and a knife has been used to kill her.

“The man, having carried out the attack, has killed himself.

“Members of the family and friends found them in what must have been awful and tragic circumstances.

“Our sympathies are very much with the family at this very difficult time.”

The bodies were taken to Woodvale Crematorium in Brighton yesterday afternoon for a post-mortem which was expected to last well into the evening.

DCI Bowles said: “We will never know the truth of what happened, of course.

“We will do our best with the help of the pathologist to put together the series of events which has led to these deaths.”

The couple had been married for about 35 years and had lived in the UK since the early 1990s.

At 3pm Mrs Bushra, a devout Christian and mother of three, had been cleaning at St Mary and St Abraam Coptic Orthodox Church, the Sudanese community’s hub in nearby Davigdor Road.

She was helping prepare for yesterday’s celebration of St Abraam’s feast day.

At a service yesterday morning, church leader Bishop Angaelos led an 80-strong congregation in prayer for strength to cope with the sudden deaths.

Many left the service in tears.

Speaking afterwards, Bishop Angaelos told The Argus: “These situations are very difficult to understand from any perspective, social, personal, family or religious.

“The loss of someone who is instrumental in your life is very, very difficult.

The loss of numerous people under difficult circumstances becomes unbearable.”


Gamal Khalil, a Hove businessman and long-standing Sudanese community leader, said people who knew the couple were in a state of shock and disbelief.

A second service in the afternoon was packed with grieving friends and relatives.

People living in Southdown House also expressed their sadness at what had happened.

Neighbour Mari Quashie said Mrs Bushra had spent time with her young son.

She said: “She was lovely.

“She was really beautiful with my son.

I really liked her.

She reminded me of my mum.

It is sad and totally shocking.”

The couple’s three children were understood to be staying with relatives last night.

As detectives worked to gather evidence at the flat on Tuesday, family members were taken to Hove Police Station in Holland Road.

They were accompanied by church leaders and over the course of the evening hundreds of members of the Sudanese community gathered outside the police station.

Bishop Angaelos said: "They were there for the family and to try to support us as much as they could.”

There are thought to be about 5,000 Sudanese people living in Brighton and Hove.

They are chiefly Christians who emigrated to Britain over the past 20 years.

The Coptic Orthodox Church dates back to the 1st century AD.