Parents' trial date set over 'honour killing'

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The Independent Online

The parents of Shafilea Ahmed, a suspected victim of "honour killing", have appeared in court charged with murdering theteenager.

Iftikhar, 51, and his wife, Farzana Ahmed, 48, from Warrington, appeared at Chester Crown Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing after having been charged earlier this month.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed spoke only to confirm their names.

A plea and case management hearing was listed to take place at Manchester Crown Court on 19 December. The couple will stand trial in the new year.

At a bail hearing at Manchester Crown Court on 15 September, Mr Justice Richard Henriques ruled the press could report that the couple were charged after "a family member" accused them of murdering 17-year-old Shafilea.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed have always denied any involvement in their daughter's death.

Shafilea disappeared from the family home in September 2003, shortly after a visit to Pakistan. Her remains were discovered near Kendal, Cumbria, in February 2004. A pathologist told an inquest that she had most likely been strangled or suffocated.

The South Cumbria Coroner, Ian Smith, recorded a verdict of unlawful killing, saying he believed the teenager had probably been murdered.

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