Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Exposure: Honour killing victim predicts death in video

Banaz Mahmod of Mitcham, south London Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

An ITV documentary to be aired tonight includes footage in which the victim of a landmark honour killing in 2006 predicts her own murder.

The video, featured on Exposure, shows 19-year-old Banaz Mahmod, whose strangled body was found months later in the garden of a house in Birmingham.

Shot in a police interrogation room, Banaz tells an officer that she is being followed around the clock by members of her Iraqi-Kurdish community.

In words that are chillingly prescient, she says: "At any time, if anything happens to me, it's them."

'Banaz: An Honour Killing' reveals how she was threatened after falling in love with another man after walking out of an abusive forced marriage.

Her father and uncle were both jailed for life in 2007 for their roles in her murder and two cousins were eventually extradited from Iraq and jailed for carrying out her killing.

A letter sent by Banaz to police predicting her own murder and that of her boyfriend Rahmat Credit: ITV Exposure

The film is the result of painstaking research working closely with Banaz' sister Bekhal and the Metropolitan Police officer who worked on the case.

Both Bekhal and Banaz' boyfriend Rahmat have had to go into hiding as a result of their involvement in the police investigation and trial.

Bekhal - Banaz' sister - testified against members of her own family putting her own life at risk Credit: ITV Exposure

Banaz' murder in January 2006 revealed the lack of support available to victims of honour-based violence in the UK.

The recorded interview above shows one of five instances when Banaz made contact with police before her disappearance, yet nothing was done to protect her.

Subsequent freedom of information requests by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation have revealed that police recorded 2,823 honour attacks in the UK in 2010.

Mohammed Ali (L) and Omar Hussain who were jailed for life for Banaz' murder Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Detective Superintendent Caroline Goode, who led the Metropolitan Police investigation, says one of the most difficult tasks was penetrating the Iraqi-Kurdish community.

Appeals for witnesses proved fruitless and many of Banaz' own relatives seemed unconcerned about her disappearance.

If Rahmat hadn't reported her missing, we wouldn't have known.

You have to ask how many of those are going on in this country. It could well be that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

– Det Sup Caroline Goode, metropolitan police
Filmmaker Deeyah (L) and Detective Superintendent Caroline Goode Credit: ITV Exposure

The Norwegian music star turned filmmaker Deeyah said she hopes the documentary will give a voice to Banaz because "no-one listened to her in her life".

Deeyah was herself a victim of honour-based abuse and has now set up a website to commemorate other victims of honour killings.

Whenever you see a film about someone who has passed you will always have family, friends, people who knew the person, sharing their love, their memories and thoughts about the person who has died - they have home videos, photos.

That was just not the case here at all. The only person speaking for Banaz who had known her alive was her sister.

– Deeyah, filmmaker

If you believe you may be at risk or know someone else who could be, there is help available:

  • Karma Nirvana - Charity for victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247
  • Memini - Deeyah's remembrance website for victims of honour killings
  • HBVA - Resource bringing together information from global experts

You can watch Banaz: An Honour Killing on ITV1 at 10:35pm tonight.