Shafilea Iftikhar Ahmed
July 14, 1986 - September 11, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial

Shafilea was born in England, to Pakistani parents. Shafilea's story is not like the others on this site, the form of child abuse she suffered in the beginning was to have her parents arrange a marriage for her that she wanted not part of, for that, she died.

Shafilea wanted to be a solicitor, she attended school at Great Sankey High School in England. The Ahmed family took a trip to Pakistan where, unknown to her at the time, Shafilea's parents had arranged for her to marry a man much older than her who she had never met. Shafilea was said to be so upset that she attempted to take her own life by drinking bleach. The attempt failed, but she suffered horribly and her parents refused to get her medical help because she was going against their wishes, bringing shame to the family.  Iftikhar Ahmed, her father, told people she accidentally drank the bleach when the power went out and she thought it was juice. When the family went back home to England, Shafilea's throat was so badly scarred that she needed constant medical attention.

On September 11, 2003, Shafilea went missing, a week later, teachers at her school reported to Police that she had not been in school and seemed to be missing:

"A nationwide hunt was launched but when Shafilea failed to seek treatment for her
damaged throat, detectives became convinced she had been murdered, possibly
in an honor killing connected with her rejection of her Pakistani suitor. Her family
say a suitor had been found for her Pakistan but she was free to make her own
Supt Geraint Jones

A listening device was planted in the home of Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed and Police heard them warning their other children not to say anything about their sister at school. Police then began to suspect that Shafilea's parents had killed her.

Shafilea had written some poetry and one poem was titled "I Feel Trapped" and was said to describe the way she felt about her life and how hopeless she felt with a family that ignored her. Shafilea had run away from home before because life with her family was so tense for her:

"She has been reported missing twice before and been found staying with
friends. We heard they had an argument over and arranged marriage and
that Shafilea had run away. I hope nothing terrible happened ot her"
Sheila Costello - Neighbor

In February of 2004 a body was found in the River Kent, the body had apparently been hidden after the area had flooded. A gold bracelet and a topaz ring were found and Shafilea's parents were called in to see if the items belonged to their daughter, of course they did. A cause of death could not be determined, Pathologist Alison Armer said it was because of the condition of her body after all of the time that had passed. Police believed that Shafilea's body had been placed in this spot on the day she disappeared. Shafilea's body was found to have been mutilated after a femur was found:

"The Pathologist could not determine the cause of death, but did say the body was
that of a young female. Obviously because of the condition of the body, she was
unable to give any further findings"
Detective Sergeant - Mike Foster

A second autopsy was done and once again, no cause of death was found.

Mike Forrester of the Cumbrian Constabulary said it was unclear if all of Shafilea's body parts had been recovered and said that DNA tests on the right thigh bone found made it clear that the body was that of Shafilea Ahmed. The lower jaw bone was used by her dentist as another means of identification and he said that it was 90% for sure that the body was her.

Iftikhar, who was a taxi driver and Farzana as well as several other extended family members were arrested under the suspicion that they had murdered Shafilea, however, they were all released just a short time later. Three years had passed and the investigation had not brought any convictions, though eight members of her family had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy. Reports said that a hair not belonging to any family members was found on Shafilea's foot and the events that took place in regards to the "arranged marriage" were still unclear.

In January of 2008, a Coroners inquest determined that Shafilea had died a "very vile murder" and it was ruled that her death was an unlawful killing. Family members who had attended the inquest left without speaking to anyone. Iftikhar and Farzana later tried to have the ruling of unlawful death overturned saying that the Coroner's opinion had been biased, they were not successful in their attempts.

Alesha Ahmed came up with a plan to bring attention to herself so that she could speak to Police. She staged a fake robbery in which she was arrested and then she told Police that she knew her parents had killed her sister. Alesha said that when Shafilea refused to marry the man they had arranged for her to marry, her parents were upset because they felt she had shamed their family name. Iftikhar was so upset that he shoved a plastic bag in Shafilea's mouth and she had been suffocated to death:

"Alesha, aged 15 at the time, then saw their mother in the kitchen sorting through
a pile of blankets and sheets and holding a roll of black bin bags and two rolls of
tape. After that happened she looked out the window and saw her father with a
large object wrapped in bags with brown tape around it. Shortly afterwards, she
saw her father leaving in a car with Shafilea's body, she assumed, inside"

On September 7, 2011, it was announced that Shafilea's parents had been arrested for her murder. Iftikhar Ahmed was 51 years old and Farzana Ahmed was 48 years old at that time. In May of 2012, their trial was under way and in August of 2012 they were both found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 25 years.

There was still some question about if anyone else had participated in the murder and disposal of Shafilea's body and Police were asking that anyone who had any further information, come forward.

One of Shafilea's poems, titled "Happy Families" said these words:

"I don't pretend like we're the perfect family no more
Desire to live is burning
My stomach is turning
But all they think about is honour
I was like a normal teenage kid
Didn't ask 2 much I jus' wanted to fit in
But my culture was different
But my family was ignored
Now I'm sitting her playing happy families
Still crying tears
But no, we're a happy family
I have these fears
I wish I wish I wish
For a happy family, oh yeah


Thank you Cat, for allowing the memory of Shafilea to live on.

This page was created on December 14, 2014
Death occurred in England

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