Shafilea Ahmed murder: Parents 'killed daughter for dating boys’
A MUSLIM teenager was murdered by her parents because she refused to let them "crush her will" and resisted their plans for an arranged marriage, a court heard yesterday.
Shafilea Ahmed, 17, was killed for bringing “shame” on her Pakistani-born parents by leading a Western way of life and trying to go on dates with boys.
The case came before Chester Crown Court yesterday after her sister broke her eight-year silence and told police she saw her parents kill Miss Ahmed.
The court was told that Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, had spent a year trying to force their daughter to adopt a stricter way of life. They allegedly murdered her at the family home in Warrington, Cheshire, on Sept 11, 2003, after deciding they would never succeed.
Andrew Edis, QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “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.”
Mr and Mrs Ahmed both deny murder.
Miss Ahmed’s badly decomposed body was found in early 2004 beside a river in the Lake District.
Mr Edis said police carried out a lengthy investigation but failed to solve the mystery of her death.
However, in August 2010, Miss Ahmed’s younger sister, Rukish, claimed she had been a witness to the killing. It was, said Mr Edis, the final piece in the puzzle.
Rukish Ahmed, who has since changed her name to Alesha, originally made the allegation to friends shortly after her sister’s disappearance. But she later retracted the claim and would not repeat it for another seven years.
She did so after being arrested for her part in a robbery at her parents’ home. Miss Ahmed, now 23, had been prosecuted over the crime and pleaded guilty.
Mr Edis told the jury: “You will have to decide whether you can really believe what she said or not. If she is telling the truth, she has lived for the last nine years under the most extraordinary circumstances. If she is telling the truth this whole family, since September 2003, has been living in extraordinary circumstances. What an extraordinary thing to say of your parents, if it is true, that you were there and watching them murder your sister.”
Mr Edis described Shafilea Ahmed as “a thoroughly Westernised young British girl” who was reluctant to follow standards set by her parents. “In particular she wanted to have boyfriends like most 16 and 17-year-old girls do, and that caused an intense pressure in the family.
“The prosecution say that her parents embarked upon a campaign of domestic violence and abuse designed to force her to conform so that she would behave in the way they expected.”
Miss Ahmed had twice run away from home in the year before her disappearance, after which she was taken to rural Pakistan, where her parents apparently intended she would get married and remain.
She told friends it was a forced marriage and, while at her grandparents’ home in Pakistan, she swallowed a quantity of bleach, either as an act of self-harm or in a suicide attempt.
Upon her return from Pakistan she began complaining that her parents were being violent towards her.
Mr Edis read extracts from two poems that Miss Ahmed wrote in the months before her disappearance.
One included the line: “All they think about is honour. I was just like a normal kid. I just wanted to fit in. But my culture was different. But my family ignored.”