Sister is haunted by 'honour killing'

The sister of alleged honour killing victim Shafilea Ahmed described in court yesterday how she was "haunted" by the murder.

Alesha Ahmed said it was only when she went to university that she realised there was something wrong with her family life. Giving a third day of evidence from behind a curtain at the trial of her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, she said relations became strained as she too lived a "westernised" lifestyle. The relationship with her parents broke down when she refused to take part in an arranged marriage with someone she did not know, she claimed.

Alesha, who claimed to have witnessed the Ahmeds kill her elder sister by stuffing a plastic bag in her mouth before suffocating her, following years of daily abuse, said the pressure of witnessing the fatal attack in front of her brother and sisters at the family home in Warrington, Cheshire, in 2003 became too much. But she told police only seven years later after she was arrested for arranging a robbery at the house. When she did so she said she felt "relief".

She told Chester Crown Court: "I think it was not until I went to uni I saw how wrong family life was. When you get used to something, it becomes normal and that's when I saw it wasn't normal, really".

Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed deny murdering 17-year-old Shafilea whose body was discovered in Cumbria five months after she went missing from home. The trial was adjourned until Monday.