A pregnant Indian-origin woman has been killed after an arrow pierced through her abdomen in a crossbow attack in London.

Devi Unmathallegadoo’s unborn baby survived after an emergency Caesarean section. The baby is fighting for his life in hospital following the attack on Monday evening in Ilford area of east London.

On Tuesday, Scotland Yard officers charged Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 50, with the murder of the 35-year-old woman, believed to be his former partner.

“The victim was found suffering an abdominal injury. She was taken to hospital where she later died,” the Metropolitan Police said.

“This is a tragic incident and our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends of the victim,” police said.

Devi Unmathallegadoo was known locally as Sana Muhammad after reportedly converting to Islam when she married her husband Imtiaz Muhammad around seven years ago.

She had three children, aged 18, 14 and 12, with her former partner and two young girls, aged five and two, with Muhammad. The baby boy who was born as a result of an emergency Caesarean operation on Monday has been named Ibrahim by his father.

“She was a wonderful mother and wife. We were together for seven years. I am heartbroken; we were inseparable,” Imtiaz Muhammad told the ‘Evening Standard’ newspaper.

Imtiaz was at home when he noticed the attacker in their shed with a loaded crossbow. He ran back into the home to alert his wife and children, but she was shot with the arrow in her abdomen soon after.

“The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby. The baby was due in four weeks. They operated with the arrow still in because it would have been too dangerous to take out,” he said.

Neighbours heard Muhammad screaming for help outside the house and described seeing a 30-cm-long crossbow being carried out of the home by police officers as evidence.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo remains in custody and will now appear before the Old Bailey court in London on Thursday.