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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor