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Shafilea 'beaten by her parents'.

Byline: By THOMAS MARTIN

A MUSLIM teenager found dead in a river after fleeing an arranged marriage had suffered years of beatings from her parents, an inquest has heard.

Shafilea Ahmed, 17, from Warrington, vanished in September 2003 and her body was found five months later in the River Kent near Sedgwick in Cumbria.

She had been beaten by her mother and father, who also stole her pounds 2,000 savings, and had fled her home in fear of being forced into an arranged marriage and left to live in Pakistan, the inquest was told.

Shafilea was a bright and intelligent young woman who wanted to go to university and become a lawyer but she was "torn" between her ambitions and her family and religion, the inquest in Cumbria was told.

Shafilea was most likely strangled or suffocated, according to pathologists.

No one has ever been charged over her death and her mother and father, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, both deny any involvement in her disappearance.

But homelessness officer Anne-Marie Woods said when the youngster came for an interview to get her own flat, she claimed to have suffered abuse from her parents.

Ms Woods said: "Shafilea said she had been staying with friends and she had nowhere to live and she was fleeing domestic violence and an arranged marriage that her parents had arranged for her.

"She said there had been an escalation of violence since she was 15/16 and that one parent would hold her down and the other would hit her."

Coroner Ian Smith asked Ms Woods if Shafilea was genuine.

Ms Woods said: "She wasn't being a drama queen. She came across as being genuinely frightened of this impending arranged marriage."

Meanwhile, the inquest heard that Shafilea's father was already married with a son when hewed her mother.

In a bizarre twist on the second day of the hearing, there were revelations Iftikhar Ahmed was already married to a woman in Denmark and had a son, Tony, when he married Shafilea's mother.

(Proceeding)

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TRAGIC: Shafilea Ahmed
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 10, 2008
Words:343
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