Tuesday 23 October 2018

Man allegedly stabbed mother-in-law to death after she helped daughter escape troubled arranged marriage, jury hears

Thirty men and one woman will appear at Kirklees Magistrates' Court on September 5 and 6. Stock pic.
Thirty men and one woman will appear at Kirklees Magistrates' Court on September 5 and 6. Stock pic.

Kim Pilling

A mother helped her daughter escape a troubled arranged marriage and told her "don't ruin your life, go live it" the night before she was allegedly stabbed to death by her angry son-in-law, a jury has heard.

Muhammad Tafham, 31, is alleged to have murdered Rahman Begum, 46, at her home in Rochdale after his wife, Aysha, 25, left him to move back in with her long-term boyfriend in Bradford.

Aysha continued seeing her partner despite entering into an arranged marriage in Pakistan with Tafham, a cousin on her father's side, who joined her in the UK in September 2016.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard the couple needed to live together for three years so Tafham could stay in the country but the pair constantly argued and eventually Aysha asked him for a divorce, which he refused.

Aysha went back to her boyfriend on February 4 this year and two days later Mrs Begum helped trick the defendant into leaving their home in Clement Royds Street while Aysha returned with her boyfriend and hurriedly threw her belongings into bin bags and carrier bags before the lovers drove off.

On February 7, the mother of five was found lying on her kitchen floor with blood around her and a knife in her hand.

She was pronounced dead at the scene when paramedics arrived.

A post-mortem examination found she had suffered three major stab wounds to the front of her body and one of them passed through her breast bone and right through her heart.

The Crown say Tafham killed Mrs Begum in anger and then placed the 12in kitchen knife in her hand to make the death appear as a suicide.

Aysha told detectives that her mother had no reason to kill herself.

She said: "She would not do something like that."

She said her father, Gulraiz Sharif, did not accept the relationship with her boyfriend, Malik, and that she only agreed to the arranged marriage with Tafham to keep her father happy.

Aysha said Tafham threatened her over the phone the day after she fled to Bradford.

She said: "I wouldn't tell him where I was staying and he said, 'I am going to come and grab you. I am going to show you who I am'.

"He always used to say, 'I have got a feeling someone is going to get killed out of your family'."

When she returned to Clement Royds Street to collect her clothes, she said her mother told her boyfriend: "Look after my daughter" and had said to her: "Don't ruin your life, go live it."

Giving evidence on Thursday, Aysha said she had fallen out with her father over living apart from Tafham but said her mother never asked her to stay with the defendant.

Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, asked her: "Did your mother ever say you were bringing shame to the family?"

Aysha replied: "No, she did not."

Mr Thomas asked: "Did she ever stop you going back to Malik?"

Aysha said: "She said wherever my daughters are happy I'm happy."

The court heard Mrs Begum complained to her GP last November that she was feeling low in mood but had no record of a formal diagnosis of depression or any other psychiatric disorder.

Pathologist Dr Charles Wilson told the jury that he thought "severe force" would have been required to inflict the stab wound which passed through her breast bone.

He added it would have been "very difficult" for Mrs Begum to inflict that wound herself but could not say it was "technically impossible".

Dairy worker Tafham denies murder.

The trial continues on Friday.

Press Association

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