Teenager's father denies murder

First published in North of England news

A father accused of murdering his daughter because he believed she had brought shame on his family broke down in court today as he denied the charge.

Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, have been on trial at Chester Crown Court for eight weeks charged with killing their daughter Shafilea, 17, in 2003.

Mrs Ahmed has always denied murder, but this week the jury of seven men and five women were told she had changed her account and said she witnessed her husband beat Shafilea on the night of the alleged murder.

She also claimed he had threatened to do the same to her and their other children if she ever asked him what had happened to Shafilea.

But today Ahmed denied ever hurting his daughter or having anything to do with the murder.

Asked by Tom Bayliss QC, defending, how he felt about his wife, Ahmed said: “I love her to bits.”

He said that had not changed, even after she changed her story.

Mr Bayliss said: “Have you ever caused any harm to your daughter Shafilea?”

Ahmed said: “No.”

Mr Bayliss said: “Were you responsible for the death of your daughter?”

He replied: “No.”

He added: “We were devastated to find out that she had left home in the first place.”

When he was asked how he felt when his daughter’s body was found, he struggled to respond, before adding in a strained voice: “We couldn’t believe it when we heard.”

Shafilea disappeared in September 2003 and her body was found on the bank of the River Kent in Cumbria the following February.

The prosecution claim 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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