"It was serious abuse. My son did not want to die."
The mother of a young man who was murdered by his “controlling and coercive” girlfriend has revealed he felt “too ashamed” to report her abuse to the police.
Tai O’Donnell, aged 19, of Croydon, London, had aspirations to become a music producer when he began dating Kamila Ahmad, then aged 22, in the summer of 2020.
Despite her small stature, Ahmad already had 11 convictions, including battery, robbery and assault, and had previously stabbed a boyfriend in 2015.
The relationship saw Tai become isolated and withdrawn until he was eventually stabbed by his girlfriend on March 3, 2021, and bled to death after she failed to call an ambulance.
In April 2023, Ahmad was convicted of murder and grievous bodily harm for the attack on her previous boyfriend. She was jailed for life with a minimum 23-year term.
Tai’s mother Stacey O’Donnell said: “I’d seen his stress.
“But I made the wrong assumption that it was just an average toxic relationship. There was nothing average about it. It was serious abuse. My son did not want to die.”
She revealed her son felt embarrassed to tell police about the abuse.
She continued: “Tai wasn’t a timid boy. He had a strong spirit. Never in a million years would I have thought that he would end up in a situation like this.
“He was a young, popular boy, he didn’t want to be seen as someone who was being terrorised by a girl. He was embarrassed.”
Friends had introduced Tai to Ahmad, who had a reputation for being a “bad girl”.
She was still on licence for an offence of robbery and possession of a bladed article when she met Tai.
Within two months of meeting, Tai confided to his mother that Ahmad would “kick off” over minor issues, although he attempted to joke about it.
Over time, it became apparent he was not allowed to see friends or stay out without his girlfriend’s permission.
A frightened Tai once called his mother in the middle of the night after Ahmad began banging on his front door.
When his family arrived, Ahmad was inside and Tai insisted everything was okay.
On another occasion, his mother spotted bite marks on his neck. Ahmad also used a brick to smash her way into their home.
Mrs O’Donnell said Ahmad would threaten suicide each time Tai talked of ending the relationship and had threatened to stab him at other times.
On March 2, 2021, she visited her son and his girlfriend at their home and told them to end their “toxic” relationship. She advised them:
“The two of you are not good for each other.”
As she said goodbye, she said: “It’s killing me to see you living like this.”
Later that evening, the couple were overheard arguing and CCTV caught Ahmad swinging her bag in the street and hitting Tai in the face at 12:25 am.
At 3:27 am, Ahmad messaged a family member saying she had “stabbed someone” and “no one is helping me clear him up”.
A neighbour called police at midday and officers discovered Tai’s body.
A pathologist said that if an ambulance was called, Tai likely would have survived.
Ahmad lied to the police, claiming she was the younger sister of a neighbour and had nothing to do with Tai. However, officers found a bloodstained jacket and rucksack which was linked to the scene by DNA.
Judge Peter Gower said:
“It demonstrates with chilling clarity how highly dangerous a young woman you are.”
“You were indifferent that he died and have shown not the smallest bit of remorse.”
The judge also rejected Ahmad’s claims that she was the victim of domestic abuse in the relationship, describing her behaviour as “controlling and coercive”.
After her arrest, ex-boyfriend Karim Hussein came forward and revealed he had been stabbed by Ahmad during their relationship in 2015.
Tai’s mother was praised by the judge for her composure and “quiet dignity” throughout the proceedings.