Parents choked sister with bag, teen tells trial

Paul Keaveny and Mike Hornby

A teenager told police how she saw her mother and father murder her sister by forcing a bag into her mouth and suffocating her, a court heard.

Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed are accused of killing their 17-year-old daughter, Shafilea, in the family home in September, 2003.

The murder was allegedly witnessed by Shafilea's younger sister, Alesha, who kept the secret for seven years.

Andrew Edis told Chester Crown Court yesterday: "She [Alesha] describes what is an act of suffocation by both her parents acting together."

He said they put their hands over her face "to close her airways so she could not breathe. She had a bag forced into her mouth."

Mr Edis said Alesha will tell the court how she saw her parents in the kitchen of their home in Warrington, Cheshire with bin bags and tape, wrapping up the body.

Shafilea's decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004, but it was not until 2010 that her sister Alesha provided the "final piece of the puzzle" about her death, the court has heard.

Ahmed and his wife, aged 52 and 49, both deny murder.

A couple allegedly murdered their "westernised" teenage daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family.

Mr Edis told the jury that Alesha was arrested in 2010 for being involved in a robbery at her parents' home, in which three masked men tied up her mother, two sisters and brother.


Six days later she alleged to police that her parents killed Shafilea, he said.

Alesha was brought into court and gave her evidence behind a curtain which blocked her from the view of her parents and the public gallery.

She told the court that they grew up in a "restrictive" Pakistani culture, which forced Shafilea to live "a secret life" her parents did not know about.

The trial continues.