‘I lied to police about my sister’s disappearance to cover up for my parents’ – court told
SHAFILEA Ahmed's sister told a jury today she lied to police investigating the teenager's disappearance because she was "covering up for her parents".
Alesha Ahmed was continuing her evidence at Chester Crown Court where parents, Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, deny murdering 17-year-old Shafilea.
The teenager vanished in September 2003 and her decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004.
It was not until last year that Ms Ahmed provided the "final piece of the puzzle" about Shafilea's death, the prosecution say, when she disclosed that she witnessed her parents killing Shafilea at the family home in Liverpool Road, Warrington.
Today, the jury were read passages of Ms Ahmed's first police interview following Shafilea's disappearance.
The witness, who was aged 15 at the time, told officers that she woke up at 7am that morning and saw that Shafilea was gone and that her bag was also missing.
She went on in the interviews to say she did not think her parents had caused any harm to her sister.
Cross-examined about the interview, Tom Bayliss QC, defending Mr Ahmed, said: "You were telling the truth, weren't you?"
Ms Ahmed, now aged 23, replied: "No, I was 15-years-old and I was scared of my parents and had just witnessed a murder actually."
The barrister went on: "Nobody would expect to see (Shafilea) back if they had seen a murder happen.
"But it didn't happen did it?"
Ms Ahmed said: "It did happen and we all saw it."
Mr Bayliss told the court that police asked Ms Ahmed outright if she knew where her sister was.
He added: "The answer to that, according to you, was that Shafilea is dead."
The witness replied: "But was I not telling the truth, I was covering up for my parents."
Questioned about why Ms Ahmed suggested to police that Shafilea may have been with a male friend, the barrister said: "The wicked and cruellest thing you could do in those circumstances, knowing someone is dead, is to lay suspicion on a wholly innocent individual."
Ms Ahmed responded: "I didn't put suspicion on someone else and I think it is wicked and cruel you are saying it yourself."
Last week, Alesha described how her parents pushed Shafilea onto the settee in their house and she heard her mother say "Just finish it here" as they forced a plastic bag into the teenager's mouth and suffocated her in front of their other children.
The couple allegedly murdered their "Westernised" daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family, the prosecution say.