Father breaks down in court as he denies Shafilea's murder

Shafilea Ahmed
Shafilea Ahmed's parents deny murdering her in September 2003 Photo: Cheshire Police/PA

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, are accused of killing their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea in 200

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.

Ifitikhar and Farzana Ahmed
Ifitikhar Ahmed denies murdering his teenage daughter Shafilea Credit: PA Wire

But as he gave evidence for the first time, Mr Ahmed denied ever hurting his daughter or having anything to do with the murder.

ITV News Correspondent Stephen Douglas reports.

Defending QC, Tom Bayliss, asked Mr Ahmed how he felt about his wife.

He replied "I love her to bits" and 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?"

Mr Ahmed again 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.