South East Wales

Farhan Mirza: Victim's 'embarrassment and humiliation'

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Media captionFarhan Mirza blackmail victim: 'I felt disgusted'. Her words are spoken by someone else.

As Farhan Mirza is found guilty of blackmail, one of his victims talks about her shame and fear as he threatened to ruin her life by posting intimate videos of her online.

Voyeurism, blackmail, fraud, theft and sexual assault - these were Farhan Mirza's string of crimes against three women over a three-year period.

The 38-year-old from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, secretly filmed them then demanded money and gifts - their refusal, he said, would result in total humiliation for them and their families.

He chose his victims carefully - all of them were Muslim, with connections to other countries - targeted because he believed their religious and ethnic backgrounds were more likely to make them compliant.

One of them, a doctor - who cannot be named for legal reasons - met Mirza after giving his mother health advice as a favour.

Here, she tells her story.


How they met

Image copyright Wales News Service

I received a call from [his mother] in which she told me about her health issues and I suggested a few things that she should do to improve them.

She was a cardiac patient and had complained [to my relative] that she was sometimes unable to get GP appointments. It wasn't a formal referral, just an informal inquiry.

At the end of the call, she asked what I was doing, where I was and whether I was married or not. I told her I wasn't married and I was working as a doctor.

A few hours later, I received a call from Farhan Mirza, asking further questions about his mother's health.

He rang after a couple of days again and then one day he ended up in the hospital where I was working in London and he told me he had to show some reports to me.

I did review them briefly and I told him that she [his mother] was doing well and he went away. And this was sort of the beginning of the relationship.

He started calling again. As it progressed, he was talking less about his mother's health and more about himself, but in a very formal way.

After about two-and-a-half months we became a little more frank and open about things and we ended up in a relationship after three months.


'I never noticed he was filming'

After a few months, I started identifying whatever he was telling me about his background, about his own profession, about his family was an absolute lie.

But then he confessed that he just fabricated the entire situation because he wanted to get my attention, which I said was absolutely fine.

Then he asked if I could assist him so he could improve his credentials, his job status and all that and he asked me in a way that I felt like, I should help this person.

I didn't have an idea that there was any malicious intention. Because of the nature of my job and my commitments, I couldn't catch up with him often. I didn't realise what exactly he was up to and what he was thinking.

I never noticed that he was filming when we were together and that he had any intention of blackmailing, although he was asking for money, quoting the fact that he was under a financial crunch but I wasn't aware that this was the intention in the background.


The 'shocking' truth

It was only in mid-2013 when I came to know.

I had been to stay at his place for about a week and that was the time when he revealed that these were his intentions.

I found a few things which were very odd at his place, like mail with different names on it and then a box full of money.

I saw some videos, including myself and other women, on his laptop.

It was a shock for me. I really felt very bad, embarrassed, disgusted, humiliated at that point.

It became a nightmare. I was scared actually.

I asked him what was the purpose of this and he said 'I keep a track record of all the women that I have a relationship with' and this was to keep them on a straight pathway and to make them comply with his demands.


'They could have killed me'

I'm from a background where these things are taken very seriously.

I could have lost all my connections with all my family members, not just for weeks or months, but for the rest of my life.

Because I go back home and spend time with my family and because of the influence of the religious groups nowadays in Pakistan, it could have led to catastrophic events.

They could have killed me.

This has happened in a few circumstances, that women have been killed. There was a woman with a boyfriend - they beat her to death and burnt her while she was still alive.

And this is not just one - there are quite a few other instances as well.


A 'shameful' secret

I couldn't share it with anyone and I don't have the nerve to explain it to [my family] that this has happened.

They love me, they trust me a lot and if I tell them anything pertaining to this issue, they will think I'm not focused on my career and spending all my time on these relationships and bringing shame to them as well.

I think he knew, because he is from that background - he was born and bred there - so he knew what the consequences could be.

Caucasian women - they are brought up in a more liberal environment and they have more courage to speak to someone - to family, to law enforcement agencies, earlier on.

But targeting Asian women - they will keep quiet because a) how are they going to explain it to their family members and their relatives? And b) there will be so much social and peer pressure and social isolation.


'Totally lost'

It was very difficult for me. I have been through a lot.

I have been through a phase where you feel like you're walking around and you don't know where you are.

You're unable to focus on anything in your life, you're totally lost in time, place and person.

I haven't felt anything like that ever in my life.

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