Harry Potter star 'beaten after meeting non-Muslim man'
Monday 20 December 2010
A Harry Potter star was beaten, called a "slag" and threatened with death after she met a young man who was not a Muslim, a court heard today.
Victim Afshan Azad, 22, played Padma Patil, a classmate of the teenage wizard, in the blockbuster Hollywood films based on the children's books by JK Rowling.
She was assaulted and branded a "prostitute" after meeting a young Hindu man, a relationship which brought anger from her father, Abul Azad, 53, and brother, Ashraf, 28, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The frightened actress later fled through her bedroom window after threats were made to kill her.
But despite attempts to get her to come to court for the trial of her father and brother, Miss Azad would not attend voluntarily, the court was told.
Both men were charged with making threats to kill her and her brother was also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his sister.
Instead of both going on trial today, the prosecution decided to accept a guilty plea of assault by her brother, and both men were formally found not guilty of making threats to kill.
Her father accepted to be bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.
Miss Azad's character was a witch who was in the same year as Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry.
She first appeared as her character, the identical twin sister of Parvati Patil, in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
She also starred in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the final film in the saga.
Richard Vardon QC, prosecuting, told the court: "The incident took place on Saturday 21st of May at the home address of the family on Beresford Road in Longsight, Manchester.
"The prosecution allegation in essence is she was the victim of a wholly unnecessary and unpleasant assault by her brother.
"The reason for the assault, apparently her association with a Hindu young man, that apparently being disapproved of by her family who are Muslim.
"Specifically she spoke not only of assault but also threats to kill, made jointly by her father and brother."
The prosecutor then gave details of the incident.
"The father, having been awoken from his slumbers, with his son shouting: 'Sort out your daughter! She's a slag!'
"He continued to further assault her, in disputed Bengali, shouting, 'Just kill her!'
"The assault continued. There was a discussion where she was being called a prostitute."
The threats to kill her apparently continued, the witness told police in a statement.
Reading from the victim's statement, Mr Vardon added: "My father began saying he would do it, a reference to kill her, as he did not want his sons to have her blood on their hands and he would do time for it.
"Then she began to feel very scared.
"She having gone to the police in respect of these matters she made a statement to the police on 22nd of May, she having apparently been so scared of her family she left her home address via her bedroom window.
"Part of her version of events was that he was going to force the complainant into a forced marriage of some sort."
However, after going to police she "made it plain" to officers and lawyers that she did not want any action taken against her family, or the arrest of her father or brother otherwise it would put her in "genuine danger."
"She came to police for help and support, and the arrest of her family members would not be of assistance," Mr Vardon added.
The prosecutor said she later made "retraction statements" to police and reiterated her lack of willingness to support any prosecution.
She also "put a gloss" on her father's words by saying she found it hard to understand his heavy Bengali accent so could not be sure what he had said.
Mr Vardon said "expensive and time consuming" steps had been taken to make sure she came to court to give evidence but it had "not been possible" to ensure her voluntary attendance in court today.
But he said despite her non-attendance, had a guilty plea not been made the prosecution would have proceeded to trial solely on the basis of her statement to police.
Her brother pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on May 1 this year.
Her father agreed to be bound over to keep the peace for 12 months in the sum of £500.
The judge directed not guilty verdicts be recorded on both defendants on the threat to kill charge.
Chudi Grant, representing the father, told the court he "emphatically" denied any wrong-doing but was prepared to be bound over.
"At the forefront of his mind is the welfare and happiness of his daughter," Mr Grant added.
Judge Roger Thomas QC, told the father: "You leave this court without any findings of guilt against you. Having said that, you are going to be bound over to keep the peace for the next 12 months. You must make sure you act peaceably.
"You have got to be of good and peaceable behaviour towards your daughter.
"It is a way of the court trying to bring order and peace in general and in particular to you and your family."
His son, having pleaded guilty to assault, was bailed on condition he lives at the home address, does not contact his sister and does not travel to London.
He will be sentenced on January 21.
Judge Thomas told him: "I can't give you any firm indication of what the ultimate outcome is.
"Violence in the home is all too prevalent. That sort of violence, domestic violence, can result, even for a man such as you, in imprisonment."
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