The prosecution allege Shafelia Ahmed's parents killed her because they disapproved of her ‘Western’ lifestyle. But giving evidence at his trial today, Iftikhar Ahmed denied all the allegations made against him. He described how Shafelia had led a full and free life: she was free to mix with boys; she was doing well at school; was artistic and athletic, and her father hoped his ‘bubbly’ 17-year-old would one day become a lawyer. As for Shafelia’s fear that she was to be "married off", Mr Ahmed said he had no idea how she had got that impression: ‘It was her life’.
Iftikhar Ahmed, a 51-year-old taxi driver, and his wife Farzana, 49, are on trial at Manchester Crown Court. Shafelia disappeared from their Warrington home in September 2003 and her body was found by the River Kent at Sedgwick, Cumbria, in February 2004. Because of its decomposition, pathologists were unable to establish a cause of death. Both parents have always denied any involvement in her disappearance, with Mr Ahmed describing their shock and sadness when Shafelia’s body was found. However, their other daughter Alesha has given evidence against her parents, saying she saw them suffocating her sister with a plastic bag.
But in a dramatic twist last week, Farzana Ahmed changed her account of events leading up to their daughter’s death. She now says she saw her husband beat Shafelia on the night of her alleged murder and claims that he threatened to do the same to her and her other children if she were ever to ask him what had happened to Shafelia. Mr Ahmed today denied this allegation, but told the court he still ‘loves his wife to bits’.
The trial continues.