Shafilea Ahmed's mother changes murder defence and accuses witnessing husband attack daughter

 

The mother of alleged honour-killing victim Shafilea Ahmed dramatically changed her defence today claiming she witnessed her husband attacking their daughter.

Farzana Ahmed, 49, denies murdering the 17-year-old at their home in Warrington, Cheshire in September 2003.

But in what the judge at Chester Crown Court described as a “significant development” in the eight week trial Mrs Ahmed now alleges that Shafilea’s father – who also denies murder - committed an “incident of violence” against the youngster and attacked his wife when tried to intervene.

However she also claims that she believed her daughter was “safe” after being taken away by Mr Ahmed following the attack. The couple have until now both denied any knowledge of their daughter’s killing.

Henry Riding for the prosecution said Mrs Ahmed’s new defence statement describes how she came downstairs at around 9.30pm on 11 September to discover Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, punching the teenager with a clenched fist.

It alleges Mr Ahmed was "very angry" and was hitting and slapping Shafilea around the face. When she attempted to end the violence Mrs Ahmed was told to “shut up”. In her statement she claims she was pushed away and “punched with a clenched fist”.

Mrs Ahmed also alleges their other daughter Mevish was present and witnessed what happened – contradicting previous evidence. She said she was “scared” and "anticipated" that she could also be harmed by her husband, deciding to take Mevish upstairs and stay with the other children in a bedroom, it was claimed.

When she went back downstairs 20 minutes later Shafilea and her husband were gone, Mr Riding said.

When he returned she claims she asked him where Shafilea was. He replied: "If you care for your dear life and that of your children don't ever ask me this question again,” the court heard.

Mrs Ahmed now alleges she asked the same question of her husband "one or two days later",

Mr Riding said she claims he responded saying: "I have already told you once before, I don't know where she is. I have also told you not to ask me that question again."

She also alleges that her husband told her that if she spoke to anyone or told anyone anything that he would "do the same to our other children and to you".

The statement concludes with Mrs Ahmed saying she believed her husband had taken Shafilea "somewhere" and that "she was safe".

The prosecution claims Shafilea repeatedly clashed with her parents over her Westernised lifestyle. The court heard she became seriously ill after drinking bleach during a family trip to Pakistan.

She disappeared in September 2003 on hr retrun to Britain and her body was found on the bank of the River Kent in Cumbria the following February.

Earlier in the trial the jury heard claims by the Ahmed’s other daughter Alesha that she witnessed her parents pushing her older sister onto a settee and suffocating her. She claimed her mother said “just finish it here”.

In other evidence Mevish Ahmed told the court that letters given to a friend in 2008 in which she apparently described the fatal attack were works of fiction.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday when the prosecution case will conclude.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past