National Day of Remembrance for Honour Based Violence - Shafilea Ahmed Story

The 14th July is now the National Day of Remembrance for victims of honour based abuse. This date has been chosen as it marks the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, who was born in Bradford and murdered in Warrington in 2003 by her parents in an honour based killing. 

Here is Shafilea’s story…

Shafilea Ahmed was born on 14th July 1986 in Bradford. Soon after her birth she moved to Warrington, Cheshire with her parents Iftikhar and Farzana.

Shafilea made local friends and thrived at school. She did well in her GCSEs and was going to carry on in school to gain A levels so she could study law

Unfortunately her parents had other plans. In February 2003 she was drugged and taken to Pakistan to be forced into a marriage. Shafilea resisted and self-harmed, swallowing a caustic substance which seriously damaged her oesophagus.

She remained in Pakistan slowly getting sicker. Her parents returned to the UK leaving her there with the extended family.

Eventually she was returned to the UK and was hospitalised, where she spent her 17th Birthday, her last.

In September 2003 she enrolled at a local college to resume her studies. A week later she had been murdered. Her parents killed her by strangling and smothering her. They committed the act jointly and in front of Shafilea's four younger siblings.

Shafilea's body was disposed of and the family went about their business as if nothing had happened.

A police investigation began shortly afterwards and in 2012 Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed were both convicted of her murder and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.

Shafilea was, murdered at the hands of her parents who were brutal with her and treated her dreadfully.

Everything changed for Shafilea because she was growing up. They hated the fact that she was mixing with local girls and they wanted her to conform to their wishes.

Shafilea resisted and for that they killed her.

Help is available to anyone facing the same issues as Shafilea and a list of local contacts can be found by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is at risk of being forced into a marriage or harmed, contact the police so that they can be protected.  You can call West Yorkshire Police in a non-emergency, 24 hours a day on 101. If there is a crime in progress or a danger to life you should call 999. If you would rather not speak to the police you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Page last reviewed June 2020

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