I was not beaten, says Shafilea Ahmed's sister


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The Independent Online

Shafilea Ahmed's sister has denied telling a friend she was beaten by her parents and they threatened to kill her.

Mevish Ahmed also denied telling Shahin Munir she should "give police her diaries" if anything happened to her.

Miss Ahmed, 21, was giving evidence for a second day in the trial of parents Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, who are accused of murdering 17-year-old Shafilea at home in Warrington, Cheshire, in September 2003.

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, told the jury about an incident in April 2009 when she was arrested on suspicion of stealing money from the family home.

He said: "You spoke to Shahin and told her that afterwards you were beaten by your mother and your father, thrown on the floor and they said that you should go to Pakistan right now and talked about finishing you and threatened to kill you."

Miss Ahmed said: "No, I fell outside the house."

The prosecution claims that Miss Ahmed had fallen out with her parents but "returned to the family" after they promised to withdraw the theft allegation.

Mr Edis said: "You had been arrested and investigated for the theft of £600 from your own house and you said (to Miss Munir), 'I'm going back home, if anything happens to me give police the diary'."

Miss Ahmed replied: "I don't recall that at all."

Yesterday, Chester Crown Court heard extracts of writings made by Miss Ahmed and given to Miss Munir which appeared to corroborate statements her sister Alesha earlier made to the jury about Shafilea's treatment by her parents and the night of her death.

Miss Ahmed described the documents as "free writing" and said they were all pieces of "fiction".

Mr Edis suggested to Miss Ahmed that in the run up to the trial and after it began she tried to get Miss Munir to hand over her diary and the documents.

He told the jury that last week Miss Munir's mobile phone received a large number of silent calls.

He said: "Would you like to tell the jury why you made an awful lot of silent calls using a phone you don't usually use?"

Miss Ahmed said it was a joke and added: "She's done it to me."

The jury also heard Miss Ahmed made efforts to visit Miss Munir recently but she said that was to "get money back" which was owed to her.

Mr Edis responded: "You were attempting to intimidate a witness."

Miss Ahmed said: "No, I wasn't."

The barrister suggested Miss Munir was fond of Miss Ahmed and the witness replied that she "didn't know" the answer.

"Does she love you?," he asked.

"She might have said she does, it's a bit creepy," Miss Ahmed replied.

"I don't love her certainly, I'm not gay."

Mr Edis said: "Might you have used that emotion she felt when you needed it?"

Miss Ahmed said she had not.

The barrister went on: "This was in 2009. At that time you made the disclosures and since then you have done everything at your disposal to get her to shut up."

Miss Ahmed said: "No, that's not true."

Earlier in the trial, older sister Alesha Ahmed described how the parents pushed Shafilea on to the settee in their house and she heard her mother say "Just finish it here" in Urdu as they forced a plastic bag into the teenager's mouth and suffocated her in front of their other children.

The couple, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, deny murder.

Mr Edis read text messages to the jury between Miss Ahmed and Miss Munir in which Miss Munir appeared to be struggling with her conscience.

In one text from Miss Munir on April 13 - just weeks before the start of the trial, she talked about "how upset" she was.

The text continues: "I care Mev. About you, your family and your sister. I always have. But what am I meant to do Mev? Can you answer that for me? You can't because you can't see what's inside me and how I feel."

Then Mr Edis referred to texts between the pair on May 21 - the day the trial opened - when Miss Munir accused Miss Ahmed of "not understanding how she feels and the pair talk about what has been in the media.

Miss Ahmed then texts: "To be honest you've obviously got an opinion on things so that's cool. But papers don't tell the truth and to be honest I don't need to justify to people. God is the only person who will make the decision."

Miss Munir responds: "What's wrong is wrong. Your words. So maybe you should stick to them."

On the same day Miss Ahmed texts: "I'm saying if you think you know something, you tell someone official."

Miss Munir responds: "If it was the other way around, would you?"

Some time later she texts again: "Stop playing games ok? I'm asking you to help me. Because I'm confused and I don't know what's right. Please."

Miss Ahmed responded: "I don't f*** around with people's trust. That's all I'm saying. But you think you know something, is that what you are saying?"

Miss Munir then responds: "I'm saying I'm going to do what's right."

Miss Munir then goes on to say how "upset" she is and that she thinks Miss Ahmed will "hate her forever".

Mr Edis said this referred to her hating Miss Munir if she "told the truth".

Miss Ahmed responded: "I don't know."

The court then heard Miss Ahmed texts back which read: "Well depends on what you think you know doesn't it?"

Miss Munir said: "What you told me, ok."

Miss Ahmed: "Don't know what you're talking about to be honest."

Miss Munir: "Mev please. I'm just asking what you'd do. Be honest ok. If it was me."

Miss Ahmed responds: "And yeah I'd hate you for telling people my life story yeah because I talk to you as a mate."

The court then heard more texts from May 22 in which Miss Ahmed referred to "God deciding" what would happen and "not people".

Miss Munir then texts: "To watch makes you just as bad."

Mr Edis said: "Is that her saying to you that to stand by and watch lying when you know the truth is as bad as lying yourself?"

Miss Ahmed responded: "I don't know."

In another text later that day Miss Munir appeared to be pleading with her friend.

The text read: "But you've got to put things right Mev. Please stand up for what you believed in."

Another text on May 24 from Miss Munir read: "I don't think we should speak, I'm going to do what's right. Hate me all you want but you should do the right thing as well."

On May 24, Miss Munir told Miss Ahmed in a text she "just wanted to do the right thing".

Miss Ahmed replied: "And you are doing. It's not like you're lying."

Mr Edis accused the witness of trying to "suppress the truth" and she replied: "It's nothing to do with a cover-up. I'm not saying that at all."

In a further exchange that day, Miss Munir said: "You know what, Mev, if I didn't care about you I wouldn't have given it a second thought and have done it."

On May 29 Miss Munir sent a text to Miss Ahmed saying: "Please, please ring me, okay please."

A second text which followed said: "I'm sorry okay, really, really sorry."

Mr Edis said that was the first contact between the pair after Miss Munir spoke to police.

She was interviewed by officers that afternoon but did not sign the witness statement, the court heard.

There followed four phone calls between them totalling 74 minutes.

Questioned about that conversation, Miss Ahmed said: "I'm not going to say I can remember the full conversation because I can't."

Mr Edis said: "Most people would be able to give the jury an account of a conversation which was as recent as this."

She replied: "She kept saying she was sorry. She was upset, she said she had given the police my writing."

The barrister asked Miss Ahmed for her response, to which she said: "Nothing really.

"It wasn't my concern."

Mr Edis said: "She must have done something."

The following day, Miss Ahmed said in a text to her friend: "Well, you need to go and tell them that you lied."

Miss Munir replied: "I can't, get done for it."

Miss Ahmed responded: "Not really. If you had signed, yes you could. But you didn't."

Later, Miss Munir told Miss Ahmed: "I can't go back on it."

Later the court was told about a conversation between the two friends in December 2008 in which the prosecution say Miss Ahmed told Miss Munir about the "humiliation" she would suffer at the hands of her mother when she was angry.

Mr Edis said she was "very embarrassed" about it and said she told her friend how she was taken into a room and the door was locked.

Mr Edis said: "You used to keep your eyes closed because you didn't want it to happen and your mother would humiliate you to teach you a lesson...you told Shahin that she used to touch you in places where you did not want to be touched."

He said she was also verbally abused at the same time.

Miss Ahmed responded: "No. My mother never touched me in places I didn't want to be touched. My mother didn't verbally abuse me."

She said her mother would just shout at her when she was angry.

Mr Edis added: "You saw your mother and father kill your sister."

She responded: "No. I didn't, no."

The jury was sent home and the trial will resume tomorrow at 10am.