A TRAINEE butcher who slit the throat of his love rival has been found guilty of murder.

Naeem Butt had been lying in wait as Saheel Ahmed left the home of the defendant’s estranged wife in Little Harwood, Blackburn.

Ahmed, 24, screamed and ran for his life when his lover’s husband pounced.

Butt, 38, severed his victim’s jugular vein with a foot-long knife and then stabbed him forcefully six times in the early hours of June 22 last year.

Police said the violence used was 'incomprehensible' and borne out of rage, jealously, revenge 'and an element of honour'.

Butt, who chose not to give evidence in his defence, was today sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 26 years.

Mr Ahmed, who was also married, had been having a relationship with Butt's wife Shakra Ali after she had left her husband.

Detective Superintendant Neil Hunter, who led the investigation, said he believed Ms Ali had been back in regular contact with her husband since the attack.

This contributed to the decision not to call her as a witnesses.

Ms Ali was not present in the courtroom for the verdict but was waiting outside.

As the families left the court building, security officials had to step in to keep supporters of Butt away from Ms Ali as insults were shouted in her direction.

Her mother Nasreen Akhtar had to be treated as a hostile witness after claiming in court she had been forced into signing her statement and hadn't understood the interpreter.

After the case, Coun Salim Mulla, from the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: "My view is that the community will always try to deal with minor incidents rather than involve the police, and that is something that I agree with.

"Things should be resolved within the community, but only on a minor scale.

"But in very serious cases, as this was, the criminal justice system must be allowed to run its course.

"Everybody, particularly in that area was very upset by what happened and in many ways are still coming to terms with it."

The jury in Butt's trial at Preston Crown Court was not told that Butt had a previous conviction for assaulting his wife in July 2009.

He pleaded guilty to that offence after telling police he still loved her despite her having a number of affairs.

Mr Hunter said: "This was a particularly tragic case in which a young member of the local community was brutally murdered.

"The level of violence used was incomprehensible and Naeem Butt deserves to spend a very long time behind bars.

"The murder was borne out of a combination of factors including rage, jealousy, revenge and also an element of honour.

"Saheel's family have acted with great dignity throughout this very difficult ordeal and have fully supported the police investigation.

"Our thoughts are very much with them and I hope that bringing Butt to justice for this heinous crime will provide them with a small amount of comfort as they continue to come to terms with their loss."

The body of Mr Ahmed was found at 1.40am in an alleyway.

After the attack, Butt fled the scene and called a taxi to his home in Johnston Street.

Butt changed out of his bloodstained clothes, but left a pair of jeans behind with blood that matched that of Mr Ahmed, who lived in Accrington Road, Blackburn.

Later he boarded a train from Manchester to Edinburgh and remained at large for two weeks as he shaved off his beard in a bid to evade the police.

He was arrested after CCTV images of him captured on the rail journey were released by detectives.

The jury took just over six hours, across two days, to reach a unanimous guilty verdict yesterday afternoon.

As the foreman of the jury read out the verdict there were shouts of ‘yes’ from the public gallery, which was packed with both members of Mr Ahmed’s family and supporters of Butt.