Asian parents charged with ‘honour killing’ of their daughter, 17

THE parents of a suspected honour killing victim today appeared in court charged with their daughter’s murder.

Shafilea Ahmed’s decomposed remains were discovered on the banks of a river in Cumbria in February 2004 after she disappeared from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, in September 2003.

South Cumbria coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict of unlawful killing, saying he believed the 17-year-old was probably murdered.

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Today Cheshire Police charged the teenager’s father Iftikhar, 51, and mother Farzana, 48, with murder.

The couple, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, were remanded to appear before Halton Magistrates’ Court, Runcorn.

The court heard that the couple have been charged with murdering the teenager on September 11, 2003 in Cheshire.

The pair appeared in the dock and spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

The case was adjourned for a bail hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Friday where they will appear via video link for a bail hearing.

Mr Ahmed, wearing an open-necked white shirt, gave family members a thumbs up as he was taken down.

Mrs Ahmed, who was wearing a head scarf and spoke through an interpreter, appeared to be on the verge of tears and nodded to her family during the short hearing.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed have been on police bail since their arrest on suspicion of murder last year.

They have always denied any involvement in their daughter’s death.

Shafilea was a bright and intelligent young woman who wanted to go to university and become a lawyer, the inquest into her death was told.

She was most likely strangled or suffocated, pathologists said.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said: “A man and a woman have been charged with murder in connection with the death of Shafilea Ahmed.

“Shafilea, 17, was last seen in her home town of Warrington, Cheshire, in September 2003.

“Her body was found in February 2004 on the banks of the River Kent in Cumbria.

“Iftikhar Ahmed, 51, and Farzana Ahmed, 48, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, were arrested on suspicion of murder in 2010.

“Today Cheshire Constabulary has charged both with murder following authorisation by CPS Mersey-Cheshire.”

Iftikhar and Faranza were initially arrested on suspicion of kidnapping their daughter in December 2003 but in June 2004 were released without charge when the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was insufficient evidence against them.

The couple were re-arrested on suspicion of murder in September last year.