Parents 'killed daughter for being too westernised'

A Pakistani born couple living in England has gone on trial, accused of murdering their teenage daughter because she had become 'too westernised'.

Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed stand accused of killing their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea nine years ago because she had brought shame upon the family.

Shafilea's alleged 'shameful' acts include wanting to go to university and to have a boyfriend like other girls her age.

Shafilea disappeared just a day after she enrolled herself in college and began a part time job in 2003.

Her parents failed to report her missing, and an investigation was only started after a teacher raised the alarm.

Her decomposed body was found on the banks of a nearby river five months later.

Police finally got the breakthrough they were waiting for when Shafilea's sister came forward to say she witnessed her parents kill her sister.

At the couple's trial yesterday the court was told they had tried to force their daughter into a more traditional lifestyle by sending her back to Pakistan and arranging a marriage for her.

Shafilea returned to Britain when she swallowed bleach in an attempt to escape her predicament.

A police prosecutor described Shafilea as "a thoroughly Westernised young British girl of Pakistani origin' who was subjected to violence for refusing to conform to her parents" expectations.

"The defendants, having spent the best part of 12 months trying to crush her will, realised they were never going to be able to succeed and finally killed her because her conduct dishonoured the family, bringing shame on them," he added.

The court was told Shafilea's parents would often confiscate her mobile phone and would steal money from her bank account.

Mr and Mrs Ahmed were allegedly recorded by police discussing the possibility that their conversations were being listened to, and warning Shafilea's sister Alesha to keep quiet.

Alesha finally broke her silence after she was arrested over a robbery at the family home.

The court was told Alesha's statement was the final piece of the puzzle for police, who were finally able to lay charges after a lengthy investigation.

The trial continues.