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Mevish Ahmed: 'I don't recall everything I've said'

by Rupert Evelyn
Mevish Ahmed, sister of Shafilea Ahmed, arrives at Chester Crown Court.
Mevish Ahmed, sister of Shafilea Ahmed, arrives at Chester Crown Court. Credit: PA

I am at Chester Crown Court listening to the evidence of Mevish Ahmed, the sister of Shafilea Ahmed, in the case where her parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, are accused of murdering the teenager.

Mevish Ahmed told the court she did not recall saying "her (Shafilea's) eyes were wide open while she was being suffocated to death". When she was asked if she has problems with her memory she said "I don't recall everything that I've said."

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Shafilea's sister's evidence to continue at murder trial

Shafilea Ahmed's decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004. Credit: Cheshire Police

The cross examination of the sister of Shafilea Ahmed continues later today as she gives evidence against her parents, who are accused of killing her.

Last week the court heard that the events surrounding the teenager's death had "haunted" her for seven years.

Sister: 'It had haunted me for a long time what happened to Shafilea'

by - Europe Correspondent

Closing his questioning Andrew Edis QC asked: "Why did you keep silent for all those years?"

It wasn't until I went to uni that I saw how wrong family life is. When you get used to something it seems normal. That's when I saw it wasn't normal.

I knew what had happened to my sister was wrong but because it's your own parents you don't see how bad it is because you still love them.

I think I felt like my sister in that I did want to fit in with everyone else but you're being forced to live in a different way, that's what made me crack.

Asked if she was a practising Muslim during university she said she wasn't initially but was by the end. Describing her lifestyle as a student she said she was "just like a western student".

In a final question Andrew Edis QC asked what made you speak out?

I think I'd just had enough. My mental state wasn't very good being between the two cultures, trying to please everyone, it just wasn't me anymore.

I was doing things out of character, turning to drink at university and the robbery I committed. I wasn't being myself. I just had to let it out. It had haunted me for a long time what happened to my sister.

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Sister explains what happened after robbery

by - Europe Correspondent

Asked why she got in contact she said: "It was for the purpose of the robbery, that's why they were called."

Ms Ahmed was arrested immediately after the robbery. She said her mother told police to arrest her after hearing the robbers say her name.

She said when taken into custody she flushed her phone's sim card down the toilet but it was later found by police. Her phone also had texts on which related to the robbery.

A day or two later she made her disclosure to police about her sister's death but denied anyone had suggested it would in anyway ease her situation with regard to the robbery she later pleaded guilty to.

She has yet to be sentenced for her part in that crime.

Sister explains why she got involved in robbery

by - Europe Correspondent

Asked to describe why she got involved in the robbery she said:

I think I just absolutely snapped. It was just hard either living the way they wanted me to or living on my own. Both were a struggle.

What did you want to get from it? she was asked by Andrew Edis QC.

I don't really know. I wasn't really thinking properly. I don't know what I was expecting.

Men entered the house, there was shouting I was dragged upstairs, they were searching the house, asking where the money was.

She said three maybe four men were in the house wearing hoods.

I was the one who made contact with them to come over, but as you can see from events I had no control and they turned on me as well.

Sister describes how relationship with her family broke down

by - Europe Correspondent

Giving evidence about the family situation in the run up to the robbery Ms Ahmed said:

I felt I was going down the same path as my sister Shafilea had in terms of going to Pakistan, to be married, it was a lot of pressure. Pressure from my parents with suitors being brought to the house.

Ms Ahmed told how she turned down marriage to one man from Bradford whose family visited the home. She said she knew little about the man apart from her potential suitor had seen her at a wedding. She said she did not want to get married at that time.

I don't even know the person so I wasn't happy with it.

Once she turned down the proposal the family began to talk of Pakistan. She said: "Constantly I was told to go to Pakistan it was just absolutely constant." She said as a result her relationship with her family completely broke down.

Sister: 'It was a relief to be able to tell someone'

by - Europe Correspondent

Asked to describe her own relationship with her parents Ms Ahmed said it was strained, especially when she went to university, however she said their treatment of her was never as extreme as it was with her sister.

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, went on to ask Ms Ahmed about her involvement in a robbery at her parents home in August 2010. It was during questioning about that offence that she told police about what she says her parents had done to her sister.

Asked why she had spoken out then, she said:

I was in a state of emotional distress. I think at that point I was really struggling with the family situation in the run up to the robbery. It all got too much and it was a relief to be able to tell someone.

Ms Ahmed pleaded guilty to robbery and has since begun therapy and taken religious guidance from an Imam.

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