Father accused of 'honour killing' collapses in court
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Monday 19 October 2009
A father accused of murdering his 15-year-old daughter in an "honour killing" collapsed in the dock today as his wife began giving evidence at his trial.
Jurors were ushered out of court as Mehmet Goren was taken ill and court staff called for first aid.
It happened as he watched Hanim Goren, his wife, begin giving evidence as a prosecution witness in the case.
Mehmet Goren is alleged to have murdered 15-year-old daughter Tulay, after consulting his brothers Ali and Cuma, because she fell in love with a man called Halil Unal.
The schoolgirl went missing in January 1999 and her body has never been found, the Old Bailey has heard.
Mehmet, 49, of Navestock Crescent, Woodford Green, north east London, together with Cuma Goren, 42, of Evesham Avenue, Walthamstow, east London, and Ali Goren, 55, of Brettenham Road, Walthamstow, deny murdering Tulay on January 7 1999.
They also deny conspiracy to murder Mr Unal between May 1998 and February 1999.
Mrs Goren, 45, faced her husband across the courtroom as she began telling the jury about her family and their three daughters and one son.
One daughter, Hatice, died aged 20 in a car accident in 2006.
Mrs Goren said her husband worked in a fish and chip shop and the family was also receiving benefits. She said her husband used to gamble and his brothers helped out financially.
The court heard Tulay went to work in the factory where her mother was employed, and where she met Mr Unal, during school holidays.
"She wanted to buy some clothes for herself," said Mrs Goren.
After two or three days she was on the way back from work with her daughter when she told her Mr Unal had "asked to be friends", she told the court.
"I said no, that is not possible, it can't happen," the girl's mother said.
She said she confronted Mr Unal, 30, and told him: "How can you do this? My daughter is only 15."
But he said Mr Unal then "apparently tricked" her daughter.
When Mrs Goren was asked if there was any other reason, apart from Tulay's age, that they could not have a relationship, she referred to where they came from in Turkey and the different branches of Islam they followed.
She said: "Apart from age, I was very very against it because he was a stranger. He was from a different town. I was very, very against it.
"We are from Turkey but we come from different towns. I was against him. I was very angry. To be frank, we are Alevi and they are Sunni."
Mrs Goren said that after the school holidays when Tulay stopped working at the factory, someone went to her school posing as her uncle and took her out and "it turned out that it was this person".
She said her daughter once came home from school with a black eye from a fight with another girl but otherwise did not have troubles.
Mrs Goren added: "Until that person went to her school, Tulay didn't have any problem, not at school, not at home."
Shortly afterwards, Mrs Goren's evidence was interruped as her husband fell ill.
Dock officers called for first aid before the court was cleared.
Jurors have been told that having said little to police at the time of her daughter's disappearance, Mrs Goren has now changed her mind and agreed to give evidence for the prosecution.
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