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Asylum seeker Mohammed Diakite, also known as Nigel, was convicted today at Liverpool Crown Court of murdering 20-year-old N’Taya Cleverley-Elliott at her home in Wavertree, Liverpool last January.
Just hours before her murder, N’Taya had been texting her mother about arrangements to move into a new apartment.
Diakite, who was 19 at the time and originally from the Ivory Coast, attacked his partner in the early hours of January 29 because Miss Cleverley-Elliott said she was leaving him.
He then called a support worker who was helping him with his immigration application, saying that he was “sorry about everything” and that he was going to jail and kill himself.
Chief Prosecutor Angela Rowan
The support worker, Celia Cole, later visited his home after becoming concerned about his phone calls.
When he arrived at the apartment on Prince Alfred Road, he found Miss Cleverley-Elliott’s body under a duvet on a bed and her four-month-old baby in a cot next to her.
Chief Prosecutor Angela Rowan, from CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “Mohammed Diakite is a manipulative and brutal liar who killed his girlfriend because he believed she was making plans to leave him.
“She was trying to start over after months of controlling and abusive behavior from him. Unfortunately, she robbed this young woman of any opportunity to make a new life.
After leaving the apartment and taking a taxi to Liverpool city center, a friend drove Diakite to Merseyside Police headquarters, where he was arrested, CPS said.
He was found guilty after a two-week trial and will be sentenced next week.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Speight said:
This was a terrible and unprovoked assault that led to the death of a young mother in her own home.
“N’Taya’s family and friends were devastated, not only by losing her but by the brutal manner in which she died.”
He added: ‘Diakite denied any knowledge of being responsible for N’Taya’s death and forced his family and friends to go through the harrowing ordeal of a trial.
After his murder, Diakite appeared to confess, only to later state: “If it was me, it was someone who used me, it wasn’t me.”
He said he couldn’t recall any attacks, or having made a confession, and blamed mental health problems on him.
But prosecutors said his “claim of amnesia” was a “convenience” and accused him of putting on an “act” for jurors.
Members of Miss Elliott-Cleverley’s family burst into tears and hugged each other as Diakite was unanimously convicted by the jury.
Diakite, who appeared via video link from The Spinney mental health hospital in Atherton, Greater Manchester, showed no emotion.
He then sat quietly.
When Diakite testified that he loved the victim, he told the jury that, on the night of January 28, the mother had wanted to have sex and he had not, so his “mood changed.”
Diakite said he was exercising with a jump rope, so he put the rope on her bed, then picked up her crying baby and started giving her milk.
He said that Miss Elliott-Cleverley was insulting him and she put a finger in his eyes and slapped him on the head, so he put the baby in her crib.
When asked what happened next, Diakite said: “Then I found myself in the hospital.”
He said that looking down on his daughter was the last thing he remembered.
Diakite, who was taking medication for depression, said he often had suicidal thoughts, heard voices and hallucinated.
However, an evaluation by doctors after his arrest found that Diakite was at risk for self-harm, but not psychotic at the time.
During cross-examination, Diakite denied having “pretended” not to remember or tried to “look bad” for his partner.
He said that ‘nobody’ took Miss Elliott-Cleverley’s SIM card out of her mobile phone and that he did not know who ‘broke’ the device.
At 00:41, Diakite left a WhatsApp voice message with a friend, asking him to send her some money.
Members of Miss Elliott-Cleverley’s family sobbed in the public gallery as Mr Unsworth played the 18-second voicemail, during which he said the young mother could be heard “breathing heavily”.
Diakite said she did not know if she was her girlfriend whom she could hear and denied hitting her.
When asked if she, as he had told Mr. Donzo, decided to “finish it” and strangled her, Diakite did not answer.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Morris said that Diakite will be sentenced in person next Monday, March 21.