Parents who killed teen daughter caught by a body language expert
It was during a TV interview that the parents of a teen girl became the prime suspects in her murder case.
A body language expert’s analysis was the start of Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed’s lies unravelling when they were interviewed about the murder of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed’s, who disappeared in 2003, The Mirror reports.
Shafilea Ahmed is one of the most prominent victims of an ‘honour killing’ – where people, often women and girls, have disrepected their family’s honour or culture and face repercussions, often death.
Shafilea Ahmed was murdered by her parents in 2003. Source: AAP
Footage analysed by Cliff Lansley, a body language expert, shows Iftikhar and Farzana questioned over their involvement with their daughter’s disappearance during a TV interview.
Iftikhar replies “Never. I couldn’t even dream of it” when asked if he killed his daughter.
It wasn’t just what Iftikhar said but his body movement combined that raised the eyebrows of Mr Lansley.
As he spoke, Iftikhar is seen lifting his head in an up and down motion at the moment he was pressed on his involvement in the murder, which is a significant indiction of guilt, according to Mr Lansley.
Her parent’s were analysed in a TV interview. Source: Supplied
“He has got his eyes closed, his volume has dropped and we see the head nod yes. Slightly diagonal, but this is up and down,” Mr Lansley said, who shares his findings on Investigation Discovery’s Faking It: Tears of a Crime.
The addition of “I couldn’t dream of it” also alerted Mr Lansley to the fact Iftikhar was lying as it appears he is further trying to qualify his story in fear that his lies may be detected.
“Farzana is sitting here motionless,” Mr Lansley added.
“But she reacts slightly when he says never. You get this little sideways glance to her right. She’s looking over to check he is answering correctly maybe.
“He’s doing all the speaking but silently she is the one who is the architect behind this whole episode.”
Iftikhar was arrested and jailed. Source: AAP
It took almost six months for Shafilea’s body to be found and nine years for the truth to come out about her murder.
The pair choked the 17-year-old to death in front of her four siblings, stuffing a plastic bag down her throat at their home in Warrington, Cheshire, after they argued about her choice of western clothes, the court found.
It was the culmination of years of arguments over Shafilea’s wishes to follow a more westernised way of life.
She was studying to become a solicitor and took an interest in clothes, make-up and also boys.
was arrested and jailed over her daughter’s death. Source: AAP
Shafilea wasn’t reported missing by her parents but by her college in September 2003 when she didn’t turn up for a week, and her friends were concerned they had been unable to contact her.
She also helped in the conviction of her parents when in February 2003, she had run away from home before she was taken to Pakistan to be forced into a marriage.
She had asked social services to help her find a place to live.
In the application form, she cited domestic violence as a reason for wanting to leave.
Shafilea’s parents shoved a plastic bag in her mouth. Source: AAP
“One parent would hold me whilst the other hit me,” she wrote.
“I was prevented from attending college and my part-time job.”
Her sister, Alesha, gave a daming testimony during the trial and described how her parents suffocated Shafilea with a carrier bag forced into her mouth and then hands over her face to close her airways so she could not breathe.
Alesha then saw their mother in the kitchen “sorting through a pile of blankets and sheets’ and holding a roll of black bin bags and two rolls of tape”, the court heard.
Iftikhar crying at Shafilea’s funeral. Source: AAP
She looked out the window and saw her father with a large object wrapped in bin bags with brown tape around it.
Shortly afterwards, she saw her father leaving in a car with Shafilea’s body inside.
All four children shed tears in the court room when their parents were found guilty.
The pair were each jailed for 25 years in 2012.