'Body could have been mutilated'

Published on Apr 14, 2004 02:11 PM IST

The body of Shafilea Ahmed, who refused an arranged marriage, could have been dismembered, the inquest was told.

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HT Image
PTI | ByUK Bureau, London

The body of the schoolgirl Shafilea Ahmed, 17, who refused an arranged marriage, could have been dismembered before being dumped in the River Kent at Sedgwick Cumbria last month. The inquest was told that a further search of the area led to police officers tumbling on some bones, that have been sent for forensic analysis.

The investigative officers suspected that she was a victim of the so-called honour killing after refusing to an arranged marriage in Pakistan. Initially, her parents Iftikhar, 44, and Ferzina, 41, were arrested over her suspected kidnapping but were later released on police bail. They had failed to inform the police about Shafilea's disappearance. Her teachers had informed the officers.
Shafilea had vanished from her home in Warrington, Cheshire, in September last year. It was said that she had angered her parents by refusing to marry according to their choice. It was said that she was in so much despair that she had swallowed bleach causing serious burns in her stomach.

The police had searched her bedroom after it was reported that she had gone missing last September. They found poems and songs written by her in which she had poured her heart out and expressed utter anguish. She said in one of the poems that she wanted to be a good daughter but failed to make her parents proud of her.

The police launched a massive hunt for her. An actress had played her part and recited her songs in the BBC's Crime Watch. When the chief detective superintendent held a press conference to give details of the progress in investigation, her parents had barged into the hall with their solicitor. They denied murdering her and said she was a modern girl having grown up here and they would have let her marry according to her own wish. Later they appeared on the TV to repeat their assertion and make an appeal for clues about her murderer.

The Inspector in charge told the inquest that a right thigh bone had been found on the east bank of the River Kent. DNA samples revealed that there was only a one in a billion chance that the femur belonged to any one other than of Shafilea.

The coroner has presently adjourned the hearing after ordering a second post-mortem.

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