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Shafilea Ahmed update

Our Correspondent Ann O'Connor is in the Crown Court at Chester listening to evidence she has sent these updates:

Giving evidence Alesha Ahmed says relationship with parents was strained but not as extreme as their treatment of her sister Shafilea.

The court has also heard that the Ahmed family never discussed what happened to Shafilea. On why she told police her story in 2010 Alesha Ahmed says:

"It all got too much and it was a relief to be able to tell someone finally"

– Alesha Ahmed


Shafilea murder case latest

The sister of Shafelia Ahmed is due to continue her testimony against their parents in the next hour.Alesha Ahmed told Chester Crown Court yesterday that her father and mother Iftikhar and Farzana suffocated her 17 year old sister, forcing a plastic bag into her throat.

Today she's expected to explain why she decided to make her allegations 7 years after Shafelia died and days after Alesha was involved in a robbery at the family home.The Ahmeds deny murdering their daughter in September 2003.

Alesha Ahmed breaks down in tears as she describes sister's murder

The sister of Shafilea Ahmed broke down in tears today as she described the moment she witnessed her parents allegedly murdering her sister. She was 15 at the time and has kept the secret for seven years. Mrs Ahmed wiped tears from her eyes as she listened to her daughter's evidence.

Alesha Ahmed told Chester Crown Court she heard her mother, Farzana Ahmed, say "Just finish it here" as she and her husband Iftikhar forced a plastic bag into Shafilea's mouth and suffocated her to death in front of their other children.

Asked about the night of the murder by Andrew Edis QC, Alesha said her parents pushed Shafilea on to their settee. She said she could not remember which parent said to grab her leg. Alesha then said her mother grabbed a plastic bag from a nearby stool.

"First of all, they put it in her mouth, then they put their hands over her," she told the court.

"You could tell she was gasping for air," she said.

Asked what happened next, she replied: "That was it, she was gone."

Mr Edis asked her what her parents did next.

She said: "They carried on with their hands still on her mouth, even when she had stopped struggling."

– Alesha Ahmed speaking to Andrew Edis QC in court


Shafilea sister gives evidence

Alesha spoke about the family trip to Pakistan in February 2003. She believed it was her parents intention to keep Shafilea there, but the children were told the trip was to attend "family weddings". Alesha claimed her parents may have drugged Shafilea to get her on the plane, Alesha said:

"My mum told my sister she had brought a drink for her in bed and to be honest I think my sister was quite pleased. She thought my mother was being nice."

Asked by Mr Edis if Shafilea drank the drink, Alesha said she did and added that her sister became "very complicit, she agreed with everything but a bit more slowly," Alesha added.

– Alesha Ahmed

Alesha also described how her sister appeared to be leaning on a luggage trolley as they arrived at the airport. She added:

"But there was nothing about her to make someone think something was going on. But it had that effect. It wasn't anything that was obvious to the public I guess."

– Alesha Ahmed

Once in Pakistan Alesha said Shafilea was worried about not being able to go back home.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

Shafilea's younger sister gives evidence

Alesha was brought into court and gave her evidence behind a curtain which blocked her from the view of her parents and the public gallery. Mrs Ahmed wiped tears from her eyes as her daughter answered questions from Mr Edis.

She told the court that they grew up in a "restrictive" Pakistani culture and said western culture was "more free"

The court heard Alesha claim this forced Shafilea to live "a secret life" that her parents did not know about. She said:

"I think she found it difficult which is why it emerged she was living a life my parents didn't know about. It was kind of a secret life as well."

– Alesha Ahmed

Alesha said when Shafilea came into conflict with her parents she was physically abused and said this happened virtually every day.

She said the violence was triggered by the friends she kept, who were white girls, her music and her non-traditional clothes.

"She was locked in a room and she was not given anything to eat for a long period of time. I think it was two or three days that she was locked in."

– Alesha Ahmed
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