Asylum seeker strangled his girlfriend to death while their baby slept

‘Controlling and abusive’ asylum seeker, 20, who strangled his girlfriend with a skipping rope beside their sleeping four-month-old baby is found guilty of murder

  • Mohammed Diakite, 20, killed his girlfriend and left her body next to their baby
  • He strangled her with a skipping rope, but says he has no memory of the attack 
  • N’Taya Cleverley-Elliott told her mum her plans to leave on the day she was killed

A ‘controlling and abusive’ man who strangled his girlfriend and left her dead next to their sleeping baby has been convicted of murder.

Asylum seeker Mohammed Diakite, also known as Nigel, was convicted today at Liverpool Crown Court of murdering N’Taya Cleverley-Elliott, 20, at their home in Wavertree, Liverpool, last January.

Just hours before her murder, N’Taya had been texting her mum about arrangements to move into a new flat.

Diakite, who was 19 at the time and is 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 he was ‘sorry for everything’ and that he was going to jail and to kill himself.

Mohammed ‘Nigel’ Diakite (left), 20, has today been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend N’Taya Elliott-Cleverley (right)  in their home by strangling her to death in a ‘terrible’ and ‘unprovoked’ attack

Diakite’s support worker visited the home on Prince Alfred Road in Wavertree (pictured) and found Cleverley-Elliott’s body on her bed next to the cot her baby was asleep in

Support worker, Celia Cole, then visited their home after becoming concerned by phone calls from him.

When she arrived at the flat in Prince Alfred Road, she found the body of Miss Cleverley-Elliott under a duvet on a bed and their four-month-old baby in a cot beside her.

Senior prosecutor Angela Rowan, of 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 afresh after months of his controlling and abusive behaviour. Unfortunately, he took away any chance that this young woman had to make a new life.’

After leaving the flat and getting a taxi to Liverpool city centre, Diakite was taken by a friend to Merseyside Police headquarters where he was arrested, the CPS said.

He was found guilty following a two-week trial and will be sentenced next week.

N’Taya had been looking for a fresh start away from Diakite at the time of her death, having already placed a deposit for a new property before she was killed

Mohammed Diakite, aka Nigel Diakite (pictured), denied ‘pretending’ not to remember, or trying to make his partner ‘look bad’ in cross-examination

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Speight said: ‘This was a terrible and unprovoked assault which led to the death of a young mum in her own home.

‘N’Taya’s family and friends have been left devastated, not only by her loss 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 her family and friends to sit through the distressing ordeal of a trial.

 In the aftermath of her killing, Diakite did appear to confess – only to later claim: ‘If it was me, it was somebody who used me, it wasn’t me.’

He said he couldn’t remember any attack, or making a confession, and blamed his mental health problems.

But prosecutors said his ‘assertion 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 when Diakite, was unanimously convicted by the jury.

Diakite, who appeared via videolink from The Spinney mental health hospital in Atherton, Greater Manchester, showed no emotion.

He then sat in silence.

After leaving the Liverpool flat (pictured) Diakite called his friend and described how he attacked his partner, he said he decided to ‘finish it’

Evidence suggested she had been strangled with a ligature, with prosecutors pointing to a skipping rope found at the flat.

Stained with the young mum’s blood, the rope was ‘concealed beneath a bin bag’ at the property. 

After committing the murder, Diakite travelled in a taxi to Liverpool One Bus Station, on the way making a phone call to his friend, Ismael Donzo, who began recording the conversation.

Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, said during that 36-minute call ‘the defendant confessed to killing N’Taya’.

Mr Unsworth said: ‘He told Mr Donzo that he had become angry, he done everything with his hand, he punched her several times and that she had been bleeding from the nose.

‘He claimed that she had been insulting him and sought to justify what he had done.

‘He said, members of the jury, this: That he didn’t want her to call the police and he go to jail. So he decided to finish it. He said that she was dead.’

Mr Unsworth added: ‘There was a confession in the clearest possible terms. He decided to ‘finish it’. In other words, to kill her.’

The trial heard Diakite, who was taken to police by Mr Donzo and then arrested, denied this, despite a history of alleged violence to his partner.

Liverpool Crown Court (pictured) heard Diakite say the last thing he remembers before waking up in the hospital was putting the baby down in her cot

The Ivory Coast national was previously accused by Miss Elliott-Cleverley of assaulting her during an argument in October 2020, just two weeks after their baby was born.

In police bodycam footage, Miss Elliott-Cleverley told officers Diakite put his fingers down her mouth and the day beforehand had bruised her left arm by grabbing it in another row.

She made a retraction statement a day later, in which she said her allegations were true, but she no longer wished to support a prosecution because it was ‘too much for me to cope with’.

Miss Elliott-Cleverley said she just wanted to concentrate on her baby, had put a deposit down for a new property, and intended to move there alone. 

When Diakite gave evidence he claimed he loved the victim, he told jurors that, on the night of January 28, the mum had wanted to have sex and he didn’t, so her ‘mood changed’.

Diakite said he was exercising with a skipping rope, so he put the rope on their bed, then picked up their crying baby and started giving her milk.

He said Miss Elliott-Cleverley was swearing at him and she put her finger in his eyes and slapped him in the head, so he put the baby down in her cot.

Asked what happened next, Diakite said: ‘Then I found myself in the hospital.’

He said putting their daughter down was the last thing he remembered.

Diakite, who was on medication for depression, said he often had thoughts of suicide, heard voices and hallucinated.

However, a doctors’ assessment after his arrest found Diakite was a risk of self-harm, but not psychotic at the time.

Under cross-examination, Diakite denied ‘pretending’ not to remember, or trying to make his partner ‘look bad’.

He said ‘nobody’ removed Miss Elliott-Cleverley’s SIM card from her mobile phone and he didn’t know who ‘smashed’ the device.

At 12:41am, Diakite left a WhatsApp voicemail message with a friend, asking him to send some money.

Members of Miss Elliott-Cleverley’s family sobbed in the public gallery when Mr Unsworth played the 18-second voicemail, during which he said the young mum could be heard ‘breathing heavily’.

Diakite said he didn’t know if it was his girlfriend who could be heard and denied he had beaten her.

Asked whether – as he had told Mr Donzo – he then decided to ‘finish it’, and strangled her, Diakite did not reply.

High Court judge Mr Justice Stephen Morris said Diakite will be sentenced in person next Monday, March 21. 

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