Shafilea Ahmed's sister denies lie claims

 

Shafilea Ahmed's sister has denied telling her police handlers she "made up" the story of how her parents murdered the teenager, a court heard today.

Alesha Ahmed was continuing her evidence at Chester Crown Court where her parents, Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, deny murdering 17-year-old Shafilea.

The teenager vanished in September 2003 and her decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004.

It was not until last year that Ms Ahmed provided the "final piece of the puzzle" about Shafilea's death, the prosecution say, when she disclosed that she witnessed her parents killing Shafilea at the family home in Liverpool Road, Warrington.

Today Tom Bayliss QC, defending Mr Ahmed, said: "Its not been an easy journey for you has it? You've had pangs of conscience about the lies you have told. You have tried to retract your statement haven't you?"

Miss Ahmed said: "I never tried to retract my statement. I've always said if I don't want to be a witness it is because I can't cope, not because I want to take my statement away."

Mr Bayliss said that in March this year Ms Ahmed was having some sort of argument with her "police handlers".

He said: "You said, 'it's all made up anyway,' didn't you?"

Ms Ahmed replied: "I have never said that. It's never been brought to my attention if I did."

She added: "I don't even remember being asked the question at all."

Mr Bayliss said: "More lies?"

She replied: "Not at all."

"It's all made up isn't it?" Mr Bayliss added.

Ms Ahmed replied: "It isn't."

Earlier the court was told how Ms Ahmed had lied to police in an attempt to cover her tracks in the aftermath of a robbery which she organised at the family home in August 2010.

The jury was told four masked men burst into the house armed with a gun, a hammer and iron bar and tied up her mother and her sisters.

Asked what was going through her mind at the time when she let these four "dangerous men" into their home Ms Ahmed replied: "I think it really shows my state of mind at the time."

The court was told that on the day of the robbery Ms Ahmed exchanged 76 text message and phone calls with a pay-as-you-go phone allegedly belonging to the gang of robbers.

Mr Bayliss accused Ms Ahmed of having "no option" but to plead guilty to the robbery - for which she is yet to be sentenced - because she had been "caught red handed".

She said: "I admit it was all I could do and I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to my parents as well."

Mr Bayliss said: "I'm sure they'll be grateful for that."

Last week Ms Ahmed said her parents had stuffed a plastic bag in Shafilea's mouth and suffocated her in front of the children.

The couple allegedly murdered their "westernised" daughter because her conduct was bringing shame on the family, the prosecution said.

Cross-examined by Mukhtar Hussain QC, defending Mrs Ahmed, Ms Ahmed was accused of "exaggerating and lying" to the jury about conflicts between Shafilea and their parents.

Ms Ahmed replied: "No, not at all. There was literally something all the time, always wearing (Shafilea) down."

The barrister said the conflicts were "made up" by Ms Ahmed to support her story about the murder.

"I think, then, ignore what I've said and look at what Shafilea said herself to her friends and other people," Ms Ahmed replied.

Mr Hussain said Ms Ahmed's account of her sister being drugged by her parents so they could get her on a plane to Pakistan was "nonsense".

He said: "Various witnesses describe you as a pathological - my word - liar."

Mr Hussain said a former school teacher of hers said she had "spread malicious comments and gossip about other pupils".

But Ms Ahmed denied doing this.

A former school friend, Mr Hussain said, described Ms Ahmed as "a bit of a story teller and tells fibs and likes to exaggerate things for attention".

Ms Ahmed replied: "I would disagree with that."

The court was adjourned until 10am on Wednesday.

PA