19/07/2012 18:09 BST | Updated 19/07/2012 18:11 BST

Shafilea Ahmed Murder: Mother, Farzana Ahmed, Denies Murdering Her Daughter

A mother accused of murdering her daughter because she brought shame on the family has denied killing the teenager.

Farzana Ahmed, 49, and her husband Iftikhar, 52, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, are on trial at Chester Crown Court charged with killing their daughter Shafilea, 17, in 2003.

On Thursday, the court heard evidence from Mrs Ahmed who spoke with the aid of an interpreter.

Mukhtar Hussain QC, defending Mrs Ahmed, asked: "Did you kill Shafilea, your daughter?"

Mrs Ahmed, wearing a back head scarf and purple cardigan, responded: "No."

Mr Hussain asked: "Did you play any part in her killing?"

Mrs Ahmed said: "No."

He added: "Did you see Shafilea being killed?"

Mrs Ahmed again replied: "No."

She said the last time she had seen Shafilea was on 11 September 2003.

Mr Hussain said: "And who was the last person to see her alive on 11 September?"

The defendant replied: "My husband."

Mrs Ahmed has always denied murder, but earlier this month the jury of seven men and five women were told she had changed her account and said she witnessed 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 had happened to Shafilea.

It was not until last year that Shafilea's younger sister, Alesha Ahmed, provided the "final piece of the puzzle" about her death, the prosecution said, when she disclosed that she witnessed her parents killing Shafilea at the family home.

Alesha described how her parents pushed Shafilea onto the settee in their house and she heard her mother say "Just finish it here" as they forced a plastic bag into the teenager's mouth and suffocated her in front of their other children.

The couple allegedly murdered their "Westernised" daughter because they believed her conduct was bringing shame on the family, the prosecution said.

Alesha's version of events appear to have been corroborated in writings her sister Mevish gave to a friend in 2008, which emerged shortly after the start of the trial.

Mevish told the jury the writings were "fiction" and that her parents played no part in Shafilea's death.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed both deny murder.

Mrs Ahmed told the court she did not know about any of Shafilea's relationships with boys until October or November 2002 when the teenager had a phone call on her mobile which she would not answer.

The court heard that Shafilea was told to answer the phone and when she did they heard a male voice, asking if she was OK.

The court heard that Mr Ahmed took the phone from his daughter and asked who it was before the male on the end of the line hung up.

Mrs Ahmed said they asked Shafilea who it was but she would not answer them.

Mr Hussain asked: "What did your husband do when she didn't reply? Did he do anything?"

Mrs Ahmed said: "He slapped her twice."

Mr Hussain said: "What effect did that have on Shafilea?"

She replied: "She became scared."

Mr Hussain asked the defendant if she did anything and she replied: "What else could I have done? I said to Shafilea 'Tell your father the truth'."

Mrs Ahmed was also asked about a time when Shafilea ran away to Blackburn in early 2003.

She said she was "very upset" when she realised that her daughter had run away and sat on the stairs, crying.

The court was told that the family flew to Pakistan the day after Shafilea was brought home by her father in February 2003.

Mrs Ahmed denied there was a "plan" to get Shafilea married off when she was in Pakistan.

She also denied that Shafilea had been given a drugged drink - or "nasha" - to get her on the plane.

She said: "There was no drink. There was no mention of any nasha and I don't know anything about it."

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

The jury was sent home for the day and the trial will continue tomorrow.

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