May 23: There have been numerous "honour killings" in Britain over the years of young Asian women, usually from ultra-orthodox Pakistani families, but the one currently before Chester Crown Court is unusual in one important respect.
The chief prosecution witness says she saw her parents strangle her elder sister and her father carry the body to his car for disposal.
Pakistani couple Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, a taxi driver, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, are on trial for murdering their "too westernised" 17-year-old daughter, Shafilea Ahmed, at their family home in Warrington, Cheshire, on the night of September 11, 2003.
It was not until six months later in February 2004 that Shafilea's badly decomposed and dismembered body was found 112km away in the heavily flooded Kent river near Sedgwick, Cumbria.
Pathologists could not give a cause of death because of the time that had lapsed since death but Shafilea's identity was confirmed by two small pieces of jewellery, DNA tests and examination of her jaw by her dentist.
The case has taken so long to come to court because police felt they lacked a piece of clinching evidence though Shafilea's parents had long been the prime suspects.
Then came the "bombshell", according to chief prosecution counsel Andrew Edis QC ' his main witness has turned out to be Shafilea's younger sister, Alesha Ahmed, who was only 15 when she witnessed the murder. (She is estranged from her parents and had changed her name from Rukish).
Edis told the court: "Both parents, acting together, got a carrier bag that they forced into her mouth. Their hands were over her face, closing her airways so she couldn't breathe."
Shafilea had been systematically subjected to a "campaign of domestic violence to force her to conform", denied food for long periods and once threatened with a knife, the court was told.
Edis summed up the case against Shafilea's parents: "The defendants, having spent the best part of 12 months trying to really crush her, realised they were never going to be able to succeed and finally killed her because her conduct dishonoured the family, bringing shame on them."
Shafilea's parents also "had their suspicions" that she was in contact with boys. They did not like her wearing T-shirts and took away her mobile phone in the evening.
On the night of Shafilea's disappearance on September 11, 2003, the prosecution said, Alesha "talks about looking into the kitchen and seeing her mother sorting through a pile of blankets and sheets. She saw her mother with black bin bags and two rolls of wide brown tape and some black tape".
Looking out of the kitchen window, she saw her father with a large object wrapped in bin bags and brown tape, "which she assumed was the body of her sister".
At around 10pm, she heard a car driving off with the body inside and her father at the wheel, while her mother stayed in the house.
Speaking from behind a curtain so that she could only be seen by the judge, the jury and the legal teams but crucially not by her parents or people in the public gallery, Alesha, who is now 23, has since yesterday been giving evidence that could send her parents to prison for life.
In February 2004, Shafilea was allegedly drugged by her mother and taken to Pakistan where her parents tried to marry her off. When Shafilea, born in Bradford on July 14, 1986, thought she would not be returning to Britain, she protested by swallowing bleach.
Shafilea was flown back to England for hospital treatment of her severely damaged throat. Her weight had dropped to just five stone.
Alesha described the Pakistani way of life as "more restricted than western culture, what to do with your free time, going out with friends, who you can see and the clothes you can wear. I think Shafilea found it difficult. She had a life that our parents didn't know about � it was a secret life. There was a lot of secrecy about things that were going on at college in order for her to live her life like she wanted to."
In November 2003,when Shafilea's body had yet to be found, a covert listening device was placed in the Ahmeds' house. The couple, who have three surviving sisters and a son, were recorded discussing evidence and talking about using the press to get away with murder. Iftikhar Ahmed is heard to say: "What are they going to find in the car?"
Edis said that in a robbery took place at the family home in August 2010, three men entered the house and tied everyone up, apart from Alesha. "The reason she was not tied up was she was involved," Edis said.
At an earlier hearing, Alesha pleaded guilty to this. She will be sentenced later.
Edis said she is "either telling the truth about the death of her sister which she has kept under wraps for years for family loyalty and eventually, perhaps, because that relationship with her parents has become toxic, she allowed herself to become involved in the robbery. Is it the truth or is it a wicked lie?" Edis concluded.
Farzana Ahmed wiped tears from her eyes as her daughter answered questions from Edis.