Mother of girl allegedly killed by parents admits she saw attack on daughter
A mother accused of killing her daughter has dramatically changed her defence to admit that she had found her husband attacking the teenager on the night she disappeared.
Farzana Ahmed, 49, had claimed that nothing untoward had happened on the eveing that it is alleged she and her husband Iftikhar killed their daughter Shafilea.
But yesterday, in a moment of courtroom drama, she changed her version of events and revealed that she had witnessed her husband attacking the 17 year-old at the family home in Warrington, Cheshire, in September 2003.
Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the jury Mrs Ahmed's new defence case statement contained an admission that an "incident of violence" towards Shafilea had occurred.
Her new account alleges that she came downstairs to discover her husband attacking Shafilea.
Mrs Ahmed claims she tried to intervene but was "punched with a clenched fist".
She says she went upstairs with the other children because she was "scared", and when she went back downstairs 20 minutes later Shafilea and her husband were gone.
When he returned she claims she asked him where Shafilea was, and he allegedly responded: "If you care for your dear life and that of your children don't ever ask me this question again."
Mrs Ahmed claims she asked the same question of her husband "one or two days later".
She says he responded: "I have already told you once before, I don't know where she is. I have also told you not to ask me that question again."
Mrs Ahmed alleges that her husband told her that if she spoke to anyone or told anyone anything that he would "do the same to our other children and to you".
She ends the statement by saying she believed her husband had taken Shafilea "somewhere" and that "she was safe".
The prosecution claims both parents suffocated her with their bare hands after one of them stuffed a plastic bag down her throat because her westernised behaviour was bringing shame upon the family.
Afterwards Shafilea’s body was said to have been wrapped in carpet and dumped on a river bank on the edge of the Lake District.
Shafilia had resisted plans for an arranged marriage and tried to go on dates with young men.
The couple had spent the previous year trying to “crush” their daughter’s will.
They had finally resorted to murder when they realised they would never succeed in making her conform to their wishes.
Andrew Edis, QC, prosecuting, said: “They finally killed her because she had dishonoured the family and brought shame on them.
“They had despaired of her ever becoming a daughter they could ever be proud of”.
The jury at Chester Crown Court yesterday (mon) learned of the “significant development in the case” during an address by the trial judge, Mr Justice Roderick Evans.
Both Farzana Ahmed and her husband, Iftikhar, have been on trial since May accused of murdering their 17-year-old daughter. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The jurors were told they would be given Mrs Ahmed's new defence case statement later today (Tues). This would provide more details of her account.