The murder of 10-year-old Sara Sharif has been shrouded in mystery since she was found dead at a home in Surrey last week.
ITV London can now reveal that her father Urfan Sharif, 41, is one of three people at the centre of an international manhunt in Pakistan.
Police have confirmed that he fled the UK with his partner Beinash Batool, 29, his brother Faisal Malik, 28, and five other children. Investigators were called to an address in Hammond Road, Woking, at around 2.50am on August 10 following a 999 call, Surrey Police said today.
The call was made from Pakistan by a man identifying himself as Sara's father, Urfan Sharif, leading officers to search the property and find the girl dead inside.
Sara’s mother was informed and continues to be supported by specially trained officers.
It is believed Urfan travelled to Islamabad, Pakistan, in company with his partner and his brother on Wednesday, August 9. The five children with them aged between a year and 13 years old.
Surrey Police are now working with a number of international agencies, including Interpol, the National Crime Agency and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to progress our enquiries with the Pakistani authorities. A post-mortem examination on Tuesday afternoon did not establish the cause of Sara’s death and further tests are being carried out. The post-mortem did, however, reveal that Sara had suffered multiple and extensive injuries, which are likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time.
Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: “Firstly, on behalf of Surrey Police, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences following Sara’s tragic death.
"Our thoughts are with her mother at this difficult time. We also fully appreciate the impact this devastating incident will have had within the local community. “While the post-mortem has not provided us with an established cause of death at this time, the fact that we now know that Sara had suffered multiple and extensive injuries over a sustained and extended period has significantly changed the nature of our investigation, and we have widened the timescale of the focus of our enquiry.
“As a result, we are trying to piece together a picture of Sara’s lifestyle but we cannot do this without the public’s help. “That is why we are appealing for anyone who knew Sara, had any form of contact with her, or has any other information about her, no matter how insignificant it might seem, to come forward as soon as possible. Det Supt Chapman said: “In the meantime, I would like to reassure you that we are doing everything possible, including working with our partners and international agencies, to ensure that those responsible for Sara’s tragic and untimely death are brought to justice.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police, quoting Operation Unison, via the force's website. They can alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...