A father accused of murdering his daughter because she brought shame on the family has denied being a “domineering and violent man” and called into question his wife's “mental state”, a court heard today.
Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, are on trial at Chester Crown Court charged with killing their daughter Shafilea, 17, in 2003.
Mrs Ahmed has always denied murder, but this week the jury of seven men and five women were told she had changed her account and said she witnessed her husband beat Shafilea on the night of the alleged murder.
She also claimed he had threatened to do the same to her and their other children if she ever asked him what had happened to Shafilea.
Today, Mukhtar Hussain QC, defending Mrs Ahmed, cross-examined her husband and accused him of being a violent and controlling man.
He said: "I put it to you that you are a domineering and violent man. What do you say to that?"
Ahmed replied: "I am not."
Mr Hussain said: "You have controlled your wife and your children and have had absolute control until very very recently haven't you?"
"I have never had any control over anybody," Ahmed replied.
Mr Hussain said: "The control has not just simply been exercised recently, but over many years with a degree of violence from you."
Ahmed replied: "There's never been any violence from me."
Mr Hussain questioned him about the night of the alleged murder and the recent account given by his wife.
He asked: "Where did you take Shafilea on September 11 2003?"
He replied: "I never left the house."
Mr Hussain said: "Because she (Mrs Ahmed) would very much like to know where you took her daughter."
Ahmed replied: "I would like to know the same as her because I never left the house and she knows I haven't."
Ahmed said a conversation which his wife alleges happened between them when she asked him where Shafilea was "never happened".
"She has simply made it up has she?" Mr Hussain asked.
"I am not saying she has made it up," Ahmed said.
"She is under stress.
"I don't know what her state of mind is at the moment."
Mr Hussain said: "You think her mental state is in question, do you?"
He replied: "I think so, yes."
"Or is it because you cannot face the truth?" Mr Hussain asked.
"I can face the truth," he said.
"That's why I'm standing here today, trying to find out what the truth is."
It was not until last year that Shafilea's younger sister, Alesha Ahmed, provided the "final piece of the puzzle" about her death, the prosecution say, when she disclosed that she witnessed her parents killing Shafilea at the family home.
Alesha described how her parents pushed Shafilea onto the settee in their house and she heard her mother say "Just finish it here" as they forced a plastic bag into the teenager's mouth and suffocated her in front of their other children.
The couple allegedly murdered their "Westernised" daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family, the prosecution said.
Alesha's version of events appear to have been corroborated in writings her sister Mevish gave to a friend in 2008 which emerged shortly after the start of the trial.
Mevish told the jury the writings were "fiction" and her parents played no part in Shafilea's death.