Shafilea parents fight to overturn inquest verdict


Case goes to the High Court

THE PARENTS of a Warrington teenager who was found dead in a Cumbria river have gone to the High Court to challenge a coroner’s ruling that she was ‘unlawfully killed”.

Iftikhar Ahmed, father of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed, was at the High Court today in a bid to have the verdict, passed by coroner Ian Smith last year, overturned, the Press Association reported.

Shafilea’s remains were discovered by the bank of the River Kent in Sedgwick in February 2004 – five months after she had disappeared from her home in Warrington.

Her parents, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, were initially arrested and questioned in connection with their daughter’s disappearance but they maintained their innocence and offered a £5,000 reward for information.

The Ahmed family are unhappy the coroner’s verdict heightened speculation Shafilea may have been the victim of an “honour killing” after details emerged she had spent five weeks in hospital after drinking bleach during a trip to Pakistan where she feared she would be married.

Mr Ahmed was recently given permission to challenge the verdict at the High Court, arguing the coroner’s view was “biased” and should be replaced by an open verdict.

An interim hearing took place today over a dispute about the family’s right to see information gathered by the police.

One of the family’s grounds of complaint is the coroner’s verdict may have been flawed because the police failed to provide the inquest with sufficient information from their investigations.

Michael Hartman, appearing for Mr Ahmed, said the father was seeking information about the movements of an individual believed to have been in a relationship with Shafilea.

But John Bassett, appearing for David Whatton, Chief Constable of Cheshire, said the police were prepared to make certain disclosures “but not all the matters the family want”.

The judge told Mr Ahmed’s lawyers to supply a detailed list to the police of the evidence they wish to be now disclosed in time for the judicial review of the coroner’s verdict.


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