Sister of Shafilea denies tale of murder made up

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THE sister of murdered schoolgirl Shafilea Ahmed denied telling her police handlers she “made up” the story of how her parents murdered the teenager.

Alesha Ahmed was continuing her evidence at Chester Crown Court yesterday where her parents, Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, deny murdering the Bradford-born 17-year-old.

The teenager vanished in September 2003 and her decomposed remains were discovered on a riverbank in Cumbria in February 2004.

It was not until last year Ms Ahmed provided the “final piece of the puzzle” about Shafilea’s death, the prosecution say, when she disclosed she witnessed her parents killing her elder sister at the family home in Warrington.

Yesterday, Tom Bayliss QC, defending her father, said: “It’s not been an easy journey for you has it? You’ve had pangs of conscience about the lies you have told. You have tried to retract your statement haven’t you?”

Miss Ahmed said: “I never tried to retract my statement. I’ve always said if I don’t want to be a witness it is because I can’t cope, not because I want to take my statement away.”

Mr Bayliss said in March this year Ms Ahmed was having some sort of argument with her “police handlers”. “You said, ‘it’s all made up anyway,’ didn’t you?”

Ms Ahmed replied: “I have never said that. It’s never been brought to my attention if I did.”

She added: “I don’t even remember being asked the question at all.” Mr Bayliss asked: “More lies?” She replied: “Not at all.”

“It’s all made up isn’t it?” Mr Bayliss added. “It isn’t,” she replied.

Last week Ms Ahmed said her parents had stuffed a plastic bag in Shafilea’s mouth and suffocated her in front of their children.

The couple allegedly murdered their “westernised” daughter because her conduct was bringing shame on the family.

Cross-examined by Mukhtar Hussain QC, defending her mother, Ms Ahmed was accused of “exaggerating and lying” to the jury about conflicts between her sister and their parents.

Ms Ahmed replied: “No, not at all. There was literally something all the time, always wearing (Shafilea) down.”

Mr Hussain said a former school teacher said she had “spread malicious comments and gossip” while a former school friend said she “ tells fibs and likes to exaggerate things for attention”.

Ms Ahmed replied: “I would disagree with that.”

The trial continues on Wednesday.