Hornchurch woman fakes death to claim �2m insurance

A CROOKED wine merchant from Hornchurch staged her own death in the Pakistani countryside to claim more than �2m from life insurance policies.

Off-licence owner Rozeena Butt, 39, Nelmes Road, teamed up with her husband Mohammed, 45, and her niece Nosheen Chughtai, 32, to claim she had succumbed to “dehydration” in a remote rural hospital, it was said.

The trio produced a series of forged documents, including a death certificate, to back up the story, jurors heard.

Chughtai then contacted three leading high street insurance firms claiming to be a bereaved relative and demanding a series of huge payouts, it was said.

But suspicions were raised after it emerged she had only taken out the policies a few months before her apparent death, prosecutors say.

Chughtai and Mohammed Butt deny helping her and are now on trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Prosecutor Mark Fenhalls said mother-of-four Butt maintained a secret second identity, which she used to commit the fraud.

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In January 2007, the defendants took out three life insurance policies under the alias Shamshad Billa, with a total value of �2.2m.

In July 2007, they put their plan into action, with Rozeena Butt flying out to Pakistan using her passport in the name of Billa.

Once there, she faked medical documents claiming that ‘Shamshad Billa’ had died in a hospital in the Okara district of the Punjab.

A few weeks later Chughtai contacted the three companies to inform them of the ‘death’ and asked them to pay out on the policies, the court heard.

But the insurance companies investigated the claims and realised Butt and Billa were one, and police were contacted.

Rozeena Butt admits three counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Mohammed Butt and Chughtai, of The Hub Buildings, Haberson Road, Tooting, South London, deny the same charges.