Shafilea Ahmed's mother admits there was an 'incident of violence' in September 2003

Shafilea Ahmed
Shafilea Ahmed Photo: ITV News

A father accused of murdering his daughter also threatened to kill his wife and other children if his spouse revealed the truth, a court heard today.

Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, stand accused of murdering their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea at their Cheshire home in September 2003.

The couple have been on trial at Chester Crown Court for the last eight weeks and have continually denied any knowledge of her murder.

But in a dramatic twist, Mrs Ahmed changed her defence case and admitted that an "incident of violence" towards Shafilea did occur in the family home on September 11 2003 - an allegation she has previously denied.

ITV News' Crime Correspondent Jon Clements reports.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the jury the new defence case statement from Mrs Ahmed alleges that she came downstairs to discover her husband attacking Shafilea.

She claims she tried to intervene and "protect" her daughter but was pushed away and then "punched with a clenched fist".

Mrs Ahmed says only one other child - Mevish Ahmed - was there to see what was happening and she "anticipated" that she could also be harmed by her husband, so she took her upstairs and stayed with the other children in a bedroom.

Mrs Ahmed says she was "extremely scared" and stayed in the room for some 20 minutes when she heard a car leaving. She claimed that when she went back downstairs Shafilea and her husband were gone.

 Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed
Farzana Ahmed claims that her husband threatened her when she asked of Shafilea's whereabouts Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mrs Ahmed alleges that when her husband returned she asked him 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."

In her statement, she says she asked the same question "one or two days later".

Her husband is said to have responded: "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."

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".

Handout photo of Shafilea Ahmed,
Mrs Ahmed said she believed had taken Shafilea "somewhere" and "she was safe" Credit: Press Association

The statement ends by saying she believed her husband had taken Shafilea "somewhere" and that "she was safe".

Mr Justice Roderick Evans told the jury of seven men and five women that Mrs Ahmed's change of story was "a significant development in the case".

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.