A mother accused of murdering her teenage daughter has changed her defence case in what a judge described as a ‘significant development’, a court heard today.
Shafilea Ahmed’s parents, Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, have been on trial at Chester Crown Court for the last eight weeks.
They stand accused of murdering the 17-year-old at their Cheshire home.
Today Farzana Ahmed revealed she did see her husband beating their daughter on the day she disappeared, having previously denied any knowledge of an attack.
Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the jury the new defence case statement contained an admission from Mrs Ahmed that an ‘incident of violence’ towards Shafilea did occur in the family home on September 11, 2003.
The new statement alleges that Mrs Ahmed came downstairs to discover her husband attacking Shafilea.
Mrs Ahmed claims she tried to intervene but was ‘punched with a clenched fist’.
She says she went upstairs with the other children as she was ‘scared’, and on her return downstairs, 20 minutes later, Shafilea and her husband had gone.
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When he returned, Mrs Ahmed claims she asked her husband where Shafilea was, and he responded: ‘If you care for your dear life and that of your children don’t ever ask me this question again.’
The mother said she asked the same question of her husband 'one or two days later'.
She claims he responded by saying: 'I have already told you once before, I don't know where she is. I have also told you not to ask me that question again.'
Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed both deny murder. Their daughter Shafilea disappeared in September 2003 and her body was found on the bank of the River Kent in Cumbria the following February
Mrs Ahmed alleges that her husband told her that if she spoke to anyone or told anyone anything that he would 'do the same to our other children and to you'.
She ends the statement by saying she believed her husband had taken Shafilea 'somewhere' and that 'she was safe'.
Mrs Ahmed has always denied murder, but today the jury of seven men and five women were told she had changed her account.
Mr Justice Roderick Evans said Mrs Ahmed’s barrister had indicated that ‘Mrs Ahmed’s account, her defence, has changed.
‘That is a significant development in the case and needs some thought.’
The jurors were told they would be given Mrs Ahmed’s new defence case statement tomorrow which would provide more details. Mr and Mrs Ahmed both deny murder.
Shafilea disappeared in September 2003 and her body was found on the bank of the River Kent in Cumbria the following February.
The prosecution claims she was killed by her parents because she brought shame on the family by her desire to lead a ‘westernised’ lifestyle
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