Alesha Ahmed told a family friend her sister Shafilea was “stabbed” by their father and the body was “in pieces”, a jury heard yesterday.
Shafilea’s parents Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, deny murdering the 17-year-old by suffocating her at the family home in Warrington, Cheshire, in September 2003.
The Bradford-born teenager’s decomposed remains were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004 but it was not until 2010 that Alesha provided police with the “final piece of the puzzle” about her death, the prosecution said.
Giving evidence yesterday, Sehreen Shafaat, 22, a close friend of the Ahmed children, said Alesha told her that their father stabbed Shafilea.
Law graduate Miss Shafaat, a trainee barrister, told the jury at Chester Crown court she and Alesha were in her car when Miss Ahmed turned to her and said the family “were not getting on”.
Miss Shafaat added: “Alesha said there was no happiness and although the family looked happy on the outside, it wasn’t happy on the inside.”
She described Alesha as “upset” and “crying” and said: “And then she just came out with ‘My Dad did it’.” Miss Shafaat said she knew what Alesha was talking about and was shocked, replying: “What?”
“And she said, ‘Yeah, my Dad killed her’,” the witness went on.
“I asked if she was serious and how (it happened).”
She said she could not remember the order in which things were said but told the jury Alesha said “something like” “My dad stabbed her and the body was all in pieces”.
“I can’t remember if she said she had actually seen her dad stab Shafilea,” Miss Shafaat went on.
“During the conversation she told me her dad had been violent in the past and she used the word ‘strangle’ but I can’t remember if that was to do with the incident with Shafilea or something else.
Earlier in the trial, Alesha Ahmed described how her parents pushed Shafilea on to the settee in their house and she heard her mother say “Just finish it here” in Urdu as they forced a plastic bag into the teenager’s mouth and suffocated her in front of their other children.
The couple murdered their “Westernised” daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family, the prosecution say.
Miss Shafaat told the court Alesha said the incident took place in the “kitchen/lounge room”. “(Alesha) mentioned the presence of Mrs Ahmed but I can’t remember what she said,” the witness added.
“She said that she and the other children had come downstairs but I don’t remember if she said they saw it happen or if that was after.”
Miss Shafaat told the jury Alesha told her to take the information “to her grave”.
Asked by Henry Riding, for the prosecution, if Miss Ahmed mentioned any discussion with her parents about Shafilea’s death, Miss Shafaat said: “She didn’t say anything about a conversation at the time Shafilea was killed, but she did say her parents did not have any regrets and they did say to the children they had ‘done it before and can do it again’.” This was done as a “threat”, Miss Shafaat said.
In the run-up to the conversation with Miss Shafaat, Miss Ahmed had been involved in a relationship with a young man she met at university, the court heard.
Giving evidence yesterday the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that on one occasion she was in tears and said she needed to tell him something. “She basically said her sister came home and ended up in an argument and, I think, it was her mother beating and manhandling her and her father was in the room.
“The mother said in her native tongue along the lines of ‘finish her off’. “Alesha was in tears and basically said death was by suffocation and involved a carrier bag.”
The trial continues.