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Life 'unfairly snatched away' from Shafilea Ahmed

Shafilea's close friend, Melissa Powner continued: "Shafilea was an extremely intelligent young lady who we have no doubt would have accomplished her personal ambitions of becoming a lawyer.

Yet this opportunity was unfairly snatched away from her when her life was ruthlessly taken for reasons we cannot even begin to comprehend, reasons that, still, other young girls like Shafilea have to face on a daily basis behind closed doors."

Shafilea Ahmed Credit: Press Association

Melissa Powner: "If there is one thing we pray will come from this, it is that her beautiful face and tragic story will inspire others to seek help and make them realise that this kind of vile treatment, no matter what culture or background they are from, is not acceptable and there is a way out."

Shafilea's friend: 'We have watched as her killers roamed free'

After today's verdicts were reached, Shafilea's close friend, Melissa Powner, read a statement:

We have waited for this day for many years.

We have watched as her killers roamed free.

Yet today we heard those important words - words that have finally brought our friend the justice she deserves.

Shafilea was a caring, high-spirited and brave young lady - who, even in her toughest times, always strived to remain positive and hopeful that one day she too would be able to live the peaceful and happy life that she deserved.

Shafilea was an amazing friend, who, no matter what her own situation was, would always strive to look out for others - a quality that we truly miss.

We would cry together, laugh together and even on the odd occasion would sit, rushing some last-minute homework before next period (but that was not very often, as she was usually the goodie two-shoes that completed it on time!)

Shafilea had a great sense of humour, a fun personality and great smile - and, although a cliched saying, she really could light up a room with her presence.

Therefore, I believe I speak for many when I say she is and always will be sadly missed.

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Shafilea Ahmed 'You could tell she was gasping for air'

The trial heard from Shafilea's sister Alesha. She said her parents repeatedly attacked and abused Shafilea as she grew up.

Crying in the witness box, Alesha told the trial her parents held a terrified Shafilea down on the settee in their living room as the plastic bag was forced into her mouth:

"You could tell she was gasping for air... [Shafilea] wet herself because she was struggling so much

Asked what happened next, she told the court:

That was it, she was gone.

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Shafilea Ahmed guilty verdict: Family breaks down in tears

As the verdicts were returned at Chester Crown Court both Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed showed no emotion, their faces remaining completely blank.

Iftikhar Ahmed pictured in 2004 Credit: Press Association

But behind them their 3 youngest children, a son and two daughters, began to weep. The two girls hugged one another in a show of support.

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