Police defend conduct following tragic homicide

20-year-old Petah Tikvah woman killed by ex-husband in front of young son hours after filing complaint.

Rehovot murder 311 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Rehovot murder 311
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
A 20-year-old woman was stabbed to death by her ex-husband in the presence of their three-year-old son on a Petah Tikva street on Sunday evening, just a few hours after the woman had filed a complaint against the man, according to police.
Officers arrested Baza Tzamra, 24, after being called to the scene by neighbors and finding him sitting by Masrat Almo’s body, which still had the knife lodged in it.
Shortly after the murder was discovered, a check of the conduct of officers involved in the case was ordered by central police district head Cmdr. Bentsi Sao and Sharon police sub-district head Asst.- Cmdr. Somroni.
Police concluded that the woman had endangered herself by failing to comply with police requests to wait at the station for police to take her back to her home after she filed her complaint.
“The conduct of the police station in this tragic case was free of fault,” police said in a statement. “All steps to prevent harm to the victim [were taken]... She was asked not to leave the station without being accompanied by police.”
“A patrol car was en route to the station to collect her and bring her home,” police said, adding that she would have been advised to lock her door after being accompanied home.
Almo and Batzra emigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 2008. In Israel, the couple split up after relatives of Almo say she had become the victim of domestic violence.
On Monday morning, Tzamra reenacted the stabbing for police. He was then taken to a psychiatric hospital for an examination of his mental state to determine whether he was fit to be held in custody. A Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court extended his custody until Monday in his absence, with the consent of his attorneys.
The couple’s young son has been transferred to the custody of his maternal grandparents.
The incident began on Sunday evening, when the victim met her ex-husband at a public square near her home at 6:30 p.m. Batzra attempted to snatch their son, police said, prompting Almo to phone the police a little over an hour later.
At 7:46 p.m., a patrol car was dispatched to Almo’s address to pick her up. Patrol officers searched for the suspect together with Almo.
After failing to locate him, Almo was brought to the Petah Tikva police station to lodge a complaint.
At 9:46 p.m., officers had completed the process of taking down the complaint, which required the use of an interpreter who could speak Amharic.
The woman then left the police station with her son, police said, and encountered her ex-husband on the street near her home, where he had been waiting.