Murdered earl still loved his scheming wife

Daily Mail - 27 May 2007

The Earl of Shaftesbury was still sending touching love messages to his wife just weeks before she had him murdered.

The messages reveal an unseen side to the doomed relationship between the earl, 66-year-old Anthony Ashley-Cooper, and Jamila M”Barek, 45, which ended with her paying her brother £100,000 to strangle him.

The notes came to light as Jamila – who has already listed Bjorn Borg, George Clooney and Bruce Willis among her ‘celebrity lovers’ – threatened to name even more as ‘revenge’ for them not standing up for her in court.

The earl’s wife, former call girl Jamila M’Barek was described as ‘scheming and evil’

One of the cards obtained by The Mail on Sunday – a Valentine’s Day greeting sent by the earl just months before his killing in 2004 – describes the £1,000-a-night prostitute as “My angel”, and says: “You are my heart.” Handwritten using a fountain pen, it was sealed with five kisses.

A message sent on a climbing trip to the Himalayas read: “My darling Jamila, you’re beautiful and lovely.

“We will climb together and say the same prayers. Thank you so much for being you.”

On Friday, Jamila and her brother Mohammed M’Barek, 43, were each sentenced to 25 years in jail at a court in the French Riviera city of Nice.

During the trial, Jamila was portrayed as a ruthless call girl who had targeted the earl for a share of his £6million fortune and his international property portfolio, which included a 9,000-acre estate at Wimborne St Giles, Dorset.

The Eton and Oxford-educated earl, in turn, emerged as a deeply troubled alcoholic, regularly hiring young prostitutes and indulging in vodka and cocaine-fuelled orgies.

He met Jamila in February 2002 when an escort agency sent her to his Cannes hotel. The stack of cards highlights his unquestioning love for the woman who ultimately ended his life.

One message, comparing her to the Roman goddess of love, reads: “Jamila, my love. You are Venus, my star.”

On their first wedding anniversary the earl wrote: “Here we are one year after (our wedding) and I feel as proud and in love with you as before. Forever, I love you.”

Even when he was said to have abandoned her for another prostitute, the love notes continued.

He and Jamila were even preparing to celebrate their second wedding anniversary at a Cannes hotel on November 5, 2004, the very day he was murdered by Mohammed.

Asked about the cards, the earl’s 27-year-old son Nick, who has called Jamila ‘scheming and evil’, said: “My father was a gentle, loving soul. He trusted people, including those who might want to harm him.”

Nick, who is now the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury and works as a New York DJ, added: “At least justice has now been done and all of us can get on with our lives.”

He spoke of his frustration at being unable to help his father overcome a cycle of depression and alcohol.

He said: “He suffered from depression and he used alcohol to find a way through it. That really was not a way to approach it.

“I spent my whole life trying to help him. He always cast that off and ran away. It was extremely hard for him to face up to it.”

Franck DeVita, Jamila’s lawyer, confirmed she was preparing to release a ‘long list’ of star lovers who she felt had let her down during her trial.

Tennis legend Borg and actors Clooney and Willis were among those summoned to give evidence, but all declined.

Mr DeVita said: “Jamila intended to prove she had no motive to kill the earl because her associations with powerful men in the past had made her rich in her own right.”

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