Judge tells jury to put aside emotions in Shafilea trial

Shafilea Ahmed Photo: ITV Granada

A judge has told the jury in the Shafilea Ahmed murder trial to put aside any "feelings of sympathy and revulsion" as they approach their verdicts.

Mr Justice Roderick Evans has begun summing up in the trial of Shafilea's parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, who are accused at Chester Crown Court of murdering the 17-year-old at the family home in September 2003.

Mr Justice Evans told the seven men and five women of the jury: "Put aside any feelings of sympathy and revulsion. Discuss the evidence coolly and calmly."

He told them there was "no special way" or "secret formula" to reaching a verdict and urged them to rely on common sense.

"You came here from different backgrounds, brought at random."

"You all have different life experiences and you all have common sense."The way to decide is ordinary, everyday common sense and if you do that I have every confidence."

– Mr Justice Roderick Evans

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 with her desire to lead a "westernised" lifestyle.

The trial heard evidence from Shafilea's sister Alesha, who claimed she and the rest of her siblings witnessed the murder at the family home in Liverpool Road, Warrington, Cheshire.

Taxi driver Mr Ahmed, 52, denies murder, saying Shafilea ran away from home in the middle of the night and he never saw her again.

Ms Ahmed, 49, also denies murder but told the jury she saw her husband beat her eldest child and she believes he killed her.