Sister of Shafilea Ahmed breaks down as she describes teenager's final moments

 

The younger sister of alleged honour killing victim Shafilea Ahmed broke down today as she relived her last moments describing how the teenager gasped for air as she struggled against her parents' clutches.

Alesha Ahmed told the murder trial that her brother and two sisters ran from the room after witnessing the fatal attack at the family home in Warrington, Cheshire in September 2003.

Pausing repeatedly to compose herself behind a curtain from where she was giving evidence, she said her sister, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer, wet herself as she fought for her life.

She told Chester Crown Court that her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, who both deny murder, pushed 17-year-old Shafilea on to the settee and then grabbed her.

She alleged that Mrs Ahmed reached for a plastic bag from a nearby stool and told her husband: "Just finish it here."

"First of all, they put it in her mouth, then they put their hands over her," she said As the struggle subsided she realised her sister was dead, she claimed.

"That was it, she was gone," she said. But despite that she alleged the Ahmeds continued to hold their hands over Shafilea's mouth for a further 30 seconds.

Alesha, who was 15 at the time, described how the other children fled. "The others ran out of the room because they were so upset. I was just frozen in shock," she said.

Shafilea's decomposed body was not found until the following February 100 miles away in Cumbria.

Alesha eventually told police what she had seen seven years later in 2010 after being arrested in connection with a robbery at the family home.

Earlier she told the jury how her sister had drunk bleach during a visit to stay with relatives in Pakistan in early 2003 where marriage proposals were discussed and she was told she would never return.

"(My mum) said something along the lines of Shafilea will be staying there and not going back. It was done in a humorous way but obviously it was very serious as other people were present," she said.

Alesha said she older sister then went to an outside bathroom from where they heard screaming coming a few minutes later. Relatives discovered an empty bottle of bleach with the lid off, she claimed.

Shafilea received medical treatment in Pakistan but her weight dropped to five stone as she was having difficulty eating. She later went back to the UK where she spent a further three months in hospital.

When she was eventually discharged she was told she could not return to her previous school because her parents blamed it for causing "trouble". School friends who came to call were told that she was not at home or asked to leave her alone, it was alleged.

She enrolled at a sixth form college where she was planning to continue studies and eventually become a lawyer, the court heard.

For a while relations with her parents improved and she got a job and was allowed a mobile phone although she had to leave it in the kitchen when she was at home.

However, the court heard that problems began again shortly before September 2003 over her choice of western clothing such as T-shirts and trousers.

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