Shafilea Ahmed death: Husband questions wife's 'mental state'

Shafilea Ahmed
Image caption Shafilea Ahmed's parents both deny murdering their teenage daughter

The father of Shafilea Ahmed has called his wife's "mental state" into question at their trial.

The jury at Chester Crown Court also heard Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, deny being a "domineering and violent" man.

Mr Ahmed and Farzana Ahmed, 49, both deny murdering their 17-year-old daughter in 2003.

On Monday, the jury was told Mrs Ahmed had changed her account, claiming she saw her husband beat Shafilea on the night of the alleged murder.

She also claimed he had threatened to do the same to her and their other children if she ever asked him what happened to Shafilea after she disappeared from their Warrington home.

Responding to questions about his wife's testimony, he said she was "under stress", and that he did not know what her "state of mind is at the moment".

'Degree of violence'

Cross-examined by Mukhtar Hussain QC, defending Mrs Ahmed, Mr Ahmed was called a "domineering and violent" man. Mr Ahmed replied: "I am not."

When accused by Mr Hussain of controlling his wife and his children, Mr Ahmed responded: "I've never had any control over nobody."

Mr Hussain said this control had existed for many years "with a degree of violence". Mr Ahmed replied: "There's never been any violence from me."

Image caption Mr Ahmed denied being a "domineering and violent" man

While being questioned on the events of the night of the alleged murder, Mr Hussain asked Mr Ahmed where he had taken Shafilea.

Mr Ahmed said: "I never left the house."

Mr Hussain told him Mrs Ahmed wanted to know where he had taken their daughter.

In response, Mr Ahmed said: "I would like to know the same as her because I never left the house and she knows I haven't."

Mr Ahmed said a conversation which his wife alleges happened between them when she asked him where Shafilea was "never happened".

"She has simply made it up has she?" Mr Hussain asked.

Mr Ahmed replied: "I am not saying she made it up. She is under stress, I don't know what her state of mind is at the moment."

Mr Hussain responded: "You think her mental state is in question, do you?"

He replied: "I think so, yes."

Covert recordings

Shafilea disappeared in September 2003 and her body was found on the bank of the River Kent in Cumbria the following February.

The prosecution claims she was killed by her parents because she brought shame on the family by her desire to lead a westernised lifestyle.

The jury heard transcripts of conversations recorded covertly by police in the Ahmed house.

Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, said the Ahmeds discussed using the media to "pin it" on somebody else.

But Mr Ahmed responded: "No, sorry that's not the case.

"It was just a general conversation about getting our side in the papers."

Mr Edis accused Ahmed of being "bothered" about shame and dishonour because he objected to Cheshire Police issuing a press release appealing for information following Shafilea's disappearance.

He replied: "I didn't want it to go in the papers because of Shafilea, I knew the effect it would have on my daughter when she returned home."

The case continues.

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