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Couple ‘murdered shameful daughter’

A couple murdered their “westernised” 17-year-old daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family, a court heard.

The decomposed body of Shafilea Ahmed was discovered in Cumbria in Feb 2004.

As her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed went on trial for her murder, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told Chester Crown Court they had killed her because she refused to obey them by agreeing to an arranged marriage.

The case only came to trial after Shafilea’s sister, Alesha, confessed to seeing the murder taking place.

The court heard Alesha kept silent for seven years and only told police after she was arrested for taking part in a robbery at her parents’ home in Liverpool Road, Warrington.

Mr Edis told the jury of seven men and five women: “The defendants, having spent the best part of 12 months trying to really crush her, realised they were never going to be able to succeed and finally killed her because her conduct dishonoured the family, bringing shame on them.”

Ahmed, 52, and his 49-year-old wife, deny murdering Shafilea.

Mr Edis the case had taken a “very long time” to be brought to trial because it was not until Aug 2010 that Alesha came forward.

The court heard Shafilea had suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her parents in the 12 months leading up to her 2003 disappearance.

Mr Edis said: “She was a thoroughly Westernised young British girl of Pakistani origin. Her parents had standards which she was reluctant to follow.”

The court heard how Shafilea was taken to Pakistan by her family in 2003 in an attempt to “force” her to marry.

Mr Edis said she drank bleach on this trip as her parents tried to “force” and “bully” her into an arranged marriage.

The defendants later claimed Shafilea drank the bleach by mistake, thinking it was mouthwash.


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