Shafilea’s sister shown mercy over robbery at parents’ home

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The sister of honour killing victim Shafilea Ahmed was spared jail yesterday when she was given a 12-month suspended sentence for organising a robbery at her parents’ house.

Alesha Ahmed’s arrest ultimately led to the conviction of her parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, for murdering their eldest daughter.

While being interviewed about the robbery, Alesha, now 24, revealed to detectives for the first time that she and her siblings witnessed Shafilea’s murder seven years earlier.

Shafilea, 17, vanished in August 2003 and her decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004 but it was Alesha’s statement to police that provided enough evidence to charge the parents, leading to their convictions earlier this year.

She was sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court, in London, yesterday after previously pleading guilty to robbery.

She helped organise the crime at her parents’ home in Warrington in August 2010.

Sentencing the 24-year-old, who is in a witness protection scheme, Mr Justice Irwin said: “In my view, this is a case for mercy.

“I bear in mind all of the extraordinary circumstances I have outlined, in particular the truly appalling nature of what you had to witness, the impact this has had on you, and what you went through to be a witness.

“Yours is an extraordinary and terrifying story.”

But the judge said that, although Ahmed’s role in the robbery was “crucial”, there was a “degree of unreality” about how she behaved.

He said she had been in witness protection for more than two years, adding: “This can properly be compared to house arrest, and I accept it had an especially intense effect on you.”

Handing her a 12-month prison term, suspended for two years, the judge said Ahmed would be supervised by the probation service and would also have to undergo continuing mental health treatment, adding: “I am confident you will not re-offend.”