Shafilea mother changes defence

Halstead Gazette: Shafilea Ahmed's parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, are accused of murdering the 17-year-old at their Cheshire home Shafilea Ahmed's parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, are accused of murdering the 17-year-old at their Cheshire home

A mother accused of murdering her teenage daughter has changed her defence case in what a judge described as a "significant development", a court has heard.

Shafilea Ahmed's parents, Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana, 49, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, have been on trial at Chester Crown Court for the last eight weeks.

They stand accused of murdering the 17-year-old at their Cheshire home in September 2003.

Mrs Ahmed has always denied murder, but the jury of seven men and five women were told she had changed her account.

Mr Justice Roderick Evans said Mrs Ahmed's barrister had indicated that "Mrs Ahmed's account, her defence, has changed".

He added: "That is a significant development in the case and needs some thought."

The jurors were told they would be given Mrs Ahmed's new defence case statement tomorrow which would provide more details.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed both deny murder.

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.

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