Married man fatally stabbed pregnant girlfriend in woodland, court hears

A married man fatally knifed his pregnant girlfriend because their unborn baby was a “complication he was unwilling to accept”, a court has heard.

Filmon Andmichaen, 31, is accused of the murder of Liwam Bereket, 26, and child destruction in relation to her unborn child in woodland off Freeth Street, Ladywood, Birmingham, on August 1 last year.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday heard that Andmichaen, of Haddon Road in Great Barr, called 999 at 9.45pm – an hour and a half after Ms Bereket is believed to have been stabbed in the neck – and told the call handler he had killed his girlfriend “by mistake” and had also tried to kill himself.

Birmingham woodland death
The weapon was never found (Jacob King/PA)

Mr Patel told the jury of six men and six women: “The defendant must have known Liwam’s condition was perilous and that time was of the essence, and yet he expressed a desire for the emergency services to go to him first.”

The court heard that when Ms Bereket was eventually found, face down and bleeding from the neck in an area of overgrown bushes, an emergency Caesarean section was carried out to try to save her baby girl, but she was stillborn.

Mr Patel told the jury that while the injury to Ms Bereket’s neck was very serious, she would not have died immediately and may have been able to “walk or run around before collapsing”.

Opening the Crown’s case, Mr Patel said that instead of immediately calling 999, Andmichaen was seen on CCTV after the stabbing walking towards a nearby canal with a bag in his hand.

He was then spotted without the bag as he walked back to his car, a white Toyota Yaris, before turning around and heading back towards the canal.

Mr Patel said Andmichaen may have been trying to get rid of evidence, and the knife used in the stabbing was never found.

He said: “Somewhere after going to canal and walking back, the bag has disappeared.

Birmingham woodland death
Liwam Bereket was 27 weeks’ pregnant (Jacob King/PA)

“He is seen on CCTV leaving behind wet footprints on the road. He said to police he tried to kill himself – or did he get wet while trying to get rid of evidence?”

He was also seen returning to the scene of the stabbing with his brother, who later told police he was concerned after seeing Andmichaen with wet clothes and urged him to call 999 if he had committed a crime.

The court heard that the defendant had previously told Ms Bereket, who was enjoying her pregnancy despite suffering morning sickness, to terminate the baby because he already had a wife and children – something that left her upset, the court heard.

Andmichaen’s wife, who came to live with him in Haddon Road from Uganda after they met on Facebook in September 2021 and married in January 2022, had no idea about Ms Bereket and said their marriage had been “good”.

The court heard that friends of Ms Bereket were concerned that Andmichaen was verbally abusive and threatening, and a neighbour in Haddon Road told police he had seen the defendant punching his girlfriend in the face months before she was stabbed.

After her death, Ms Bereket’s bank cards and phone were found in a bag in the boot of Andmichaen’s car.

Mr Patel said: “The defendant’s fingerprints were found on her phone.

Birmingham woodland death
Forensic officers at the scene on August 2 2023 (Jacob King/PA)

“Ms Bereket did not die instantly, and in fact showed some signs of life two hours after being wounded, but the defendant did not call for help.

“He took her phone, which we say was intended to prevent her seeking help, as we know timely medical intervention may have saved her life.

“We say the defendant knew his actions would amount to the death of them both.

“He couldn’t possible have Liwam alive because she would identify him as the person who tried to kill her and he delayed in calling for help and disposed of the knife which would have had his DNA and her blood on it.

“This is a case of grave consequences. It ended the life of a young, innocent woman and the unborn child she nourished inside her. The facts are as simple as they are gruesome.

“Filmon Andmichaen made a chilling decision – he decided the life growing inside his girlfriend was a complication he was unwilling to accept.

“He decided his solution to this was a permanent one.

“We say that having heard all evidence, you can be sure of the defendant’s guilt on each of the two counts he faces.”

Andmichaen, who sat in the dock listening intently to an interpreter who translated the proceedings into Tigrinya, denies the charges against him.

The trial, in front of judge Mr Justice Choudhury KC, continues.

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