LONDON – The parents of Shafilea Ahmed have been jailed for life after being convicted of her murder.
The 17-year-old went missing from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, in 2003 and her body was found in the River Kent in Cumbria six months later.
Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, had denied her murder but the jury at Chester Crown Court returned guilty verdicts against them both.
Justice Roderick Evans said they would both serve a minimum of 25 years.
The judge told them: “Your concern about being shamed in your community was greater than the love of your child.”
The couple suffocated Shafilea with a plastic bag after years of abuse.
After the trial. Det Supt Geraint Jones described the killing as a “vile and disgraceful act against someone they should have been very proud of”.
The police and Crown Prosecution Service said they will review conflicting evidence that emerged during the trial and later make a decision on whether any further action will be taken.
The prosecution claimed she was murdered by her parents because they believed she brought shame on the family.
Shafilea went missing on 11 September 2003 and was reported missing by a teacher a week later.
After several police appeals to find her, workmen found her decomposed remains in February 2004 and she was identified by her dental records and jewellery.
Two post-mortem examinations failed to determine how she died but a verdict of unlawful killing was recorded at her inquest in 2008.
A breakthrough came when Shafilea’s younger sister, Alesha Ahmed, was arrested in connection with an armed robbery at the family home in August 2010.
It was in a police interview that she said she had seen her parents kill her sister seven years earlier.
During the trial, she told the court her parents pushed Shafilea on to the settee in their house and she heard her mother say “just finish it here”.
She said the parents then forced a plastic bag into the teenager’s mouth and killed her in front of their other children. (BBC)