Body language experts show moment murderer lied about escort's death

Moment banker SHRUGGED at murder of high-class call girl: Father-of-two City trader faked sadness as he lied to cops about bludgeoning escort to death in champagne and cocaine-fuelled fury on her 29th birthday

  • Body language experts pinpoint murderous father-of-two’s lies to detectives 
  • Zahid Naseem hired private escort Christina Abbotts for a night of sex and drugs
  • £2,000-a-night escort Abbotts was found dead in a Crawley, West Sussex flat 
  • Banker attacked her with a kitchen pestle 13 times, inflicting fatal head injuries
  • CCTV shows moment he shrugs and feigns sadness when quizzed on her death 

Video footage has revealed the moment a City banker shrugged and faked sadness during police interview as he was accused of murdering an escort in a cocaine-fuelled rage.

Father-of-two Zahid Naseem, 50, battered £2,000-a-night private escort Christina Abbotts to death with a mortar in a Crawley, West Sussex flat on her 29th birthday in 2018.

CCTV in a new documentary shows the moment the former investment consultant, who earned upwards of £250,000-a-year as a City trader, shrugs as he tells detectives he couldn’t remember what happened on the night of Christina’s murder.

Footage from inside a police interview room reveals Naseem appearing to look solemn and upset as he tells officers of his ‘shock’ at her death.

In one clip, he can be seen slumping with his head down, while another shot appears to show him turning his body away from the detectives who are quizzing him. 

Body language experts have picked apart the scene and confirmed investigating officers’ suspicions – that Naseem was lying and subtle gestures gave his guilt away.  

Dr Cliff Lansley told Discovery’s Faking It that murderer Naseem ‘sulked’ and faked sadness to try and ‘get police on his side’. 

Detectives also pointed to his head shake, flickering eye and defensive posture and said it was ‘very clear’ that he had lied.  

Zahid Naseem was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering escort Christina Abbotts in a champagne and cocaine-fuelled attack at a flat in Crawley, West Sussex

Footage from inside a police interview room reveals the moment Naseem shrugs as he tells detectives he couldn’t remember what happened on the night of Christina’s murder

Body language and linguistics experts have shared their assessment of killer banker Zahid Naseem’s subconscious actions under police interview

Naseem told police he was ‘shell-shocked’ and went back into the living room where he drank vodka. 

He told officers: ‘Something must have happened. There was me and there was her and then there wasn’t her. Did I hit her? I don’t remember hitting her, no.

‘Did we fight, no we didn’t fight. I’m not some hyper high-functioning psychopath creating a story for you a-la Silence of the Lambs. I’m just telling you what happened or what didn’t happen. I can’t tell you more than that.’

In another police interview he said: ‘It’s just not me. It’s not me. I keep telling you but you just don’t get that.’

Speaking on Disovery’s new show Faking It, Dr Lansley said of damning footage that shows Naseem lying: ‘When the brows raise and the mouth arches, it creates a signal of sadness. And when we feel it, that’s what happens.

‘But when you want to pose sadness, you can create the same arch and pretend you’re sad to get pity and some mercy when you’re in the wrong by jutting your chin and pursing your lip. 

‘If you ask a child to pose sadness, they do what we call a sulk, and this is what he’s doing.

‘He’s doing a sulk pose on his mouth. His chin raises and his lip pouts out with a little frown.

‘This combination is what we can pose sadness or sulking. It’s not going to convince anyone to have pity at this point.’  

Dr Cliff Lansley told Discovery’s Faking It that murderer Naseem ‘sulked’ and faked sadness to try and ‘get police on his side’.

Footage from inside a police interview room reveals Naseem appearing to look solemn and upset as he tells officers of his ‘shock’ at the escort’s death

Dawn Archer, professor of linguistics, revealed there had been indications that Naseem had struggled with officers’ questioning. 

‘One is the fact there are a significant number of long pauses throughout, sometimes two seconds in length, often four seconds in length, and up to eight seconds in length,’ she said.

‘That’s a long time to pause before answering. He’s either unsure of what to say and/or he’s thinking about what to say next.’

Zahid Naseem had enjoyed a lucrative career, first working first for HSBC bank and then finance giant Merrill Lynch, before moving to BNP Paribas and specialising in risk management.

But was sacked from his most recent finance role at Aberdeen Asset management over claims he had run up debts of £20,000 on the company credit card and was freelancing as a consultant working for a small Canadian bank.

Despite earning up to £250,000 a year, living a life of excess had left Naseem with debts of up to £100,000 and the court heard he had been ‘stressed, short-tempered and grumpier than normal.’

Ms Abbotts (left) led a secret life as a high-class escort before she was attacked and killed by City financier Naseem (right) during a night of sex and drugs in Sussex

This is the moment police stormed a flat to find Ms Abbotts dead and Naseem feigning unconsciousness in his dressing gown on the sofa (pictured)

His regular use of prostitutes was an open secret among work colleagues who were aware of his tastes.

Naseem and Christina Abbotts first met at a London restaurant and then went to the Plaza Hotel in Knightsbridge for a night of sex, cocaine and alcohol.

Christina told friends she was flat-sitting but in reality she was secretly working as high-class escort, advertising her services – including bondage and sado-masochism – online at

Calling herself Tilly Pexton, she sought her clients among the wealthy bankers and businessmen in the City of London, charging around £2,000 a time.

Naseem and Abbotts met on a number of occasions and Christina was paid around £2,000 for the liaisons.

Naseem struck Ms Abbotts 13 times on the head with this pestle after spending a drug-filled night together

After meeting at her friend’s flat on Friday, May 25 in 2018, the pair went to Asda in Crawley where they spotted on CCTV buying bottles of champagne before phoning a drugs contact to arrange the delivery of a large amount of cocaine. The pair then indulged in a night of sex and drugs.

The following morning – Christina’s birthday – she received texts from friends and family wishing her a happy birthday. She replied and made plans with friends to meet them later for the party in London.

She and Naseem had sex in the morning but the court heard that around midday the banker attacked Christina in the bedroom. 

Using a kitchen pestle, he bludgeoned her around the head at least 13 times and attempted to strangle her before leaving her to die on the bed in a pool of her own blood.

Just hours later he messaged his estranged partner, Helen Jervis, saying: ‘It’s too late. I’m sorry. Life isn’t going to work out for me.’

Christina Abbotts murder: Timeline 

 2011– City banker Naseem starts using escorts, taking cocaine and drinking heavily after growing apart from his partner.

2015 – Former student Christine Abbotts sets up a profile on advertising herself as an escort, working in secret while telling relatives and friends she is working in IT in London.

April 2018 – Naseem and Ms Abbotts for the first time, spending time at swanky London restaurants and hotels.

May 24, 2018 – Naseem is working in Toronto-Dominion Bank’s London office and arranges to meet Ms Abbotts when he finishes that evening. He takes a taxi to Crawley where the pair go to Asda to buy alcohol including her favourite brand of champagne Veuve-Clicquot. This is the last time they are seen in public.

May 25 – Ms Abbotts celebrates her 29th birthday, sending messages thanking family and friends for their best wishes.

Midday – This is the last time anyone was contacted by her or she picked up messages on her phone, indicating she was killed shortly afterwards.

2pm – Naseem sends explicit photos and a video of himself naked to another sex worker. The background of the video shows he is in the sitting room of Ms Abbotts’ flat. Later that afternoon a cleaner arrives to work at the flat but cannot get in because the door is locked from the inside and no-one answers when she knocks so she leaves.

Police at the flat where Ms Abbotts was found dead on her 29th birthday

5pm – Friend Roshan Periag is due to meet Ms Abbotts at the Park Plaza County Hall hotel in London where she was planning to stay to celebrate her birthday. She arranged to meet the rest of her friends for drinks from around 9pm in South Kensington bars. When she does not turn up and no-one can get hold of her they begin to worry, fearing it may have something to do with a stalker who was hassling her online. One friend phones the police while Mr Periag drives to Crawley and tries to find her at the flat.

May 26 – Mr Periag has no luck but can see the light of the computer screen through the window of her flat and goes to the police station to raise the alarm.

1.30am – Officers arrive at the address in Highams Hill, in the Gossops Green area of Crawley.

2.30am – Police break down the door of the flat, discovering the body of Ms Abbotts and Naseem lying naked on the sofa pretending to be unconscious. 

5am – He is taken by ambulance to hospital and after he is checked over he is arrested on suspicion of murder. He is discharged and taken into custody for questioning.

December 11, 2018 – Naseem stands trial after denying murder.

December 20 – The jury find Naseem guilty of murder. 

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