Survivors of honour based abuse often reflect on how easily their fate might have been different. In some extreme cases, victims are physically harmed or even murdered by their families or spouses.
Geeta Aulakh, 28, was killed on 16 November 2009. The receptionist from Hounslow, West London was stabbed while on her way home from work, as she was about to pick up her two children. Her husband, from whom she was seeking a divorce, had ordered the brutal attack. He and Geeta’s killers were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Tulay Goren was 15 when she was murdered by her father in January 1999. Her body has never been found and her father’s conviction was only secured after her mother and sister gave damning testimony which brought him to justice, with a 22 year prison sentence. Tulay had come to Britain three years before her death and was in a relationship her father didn’t approve of.
Sahjda Bibi, from Birmingham, was 21 when she was stabbed 22 times by two of her cousins on 11 January 2013. She was killed while wearing her wedding dress, just minutes before she was due to marry a man she loved. Both men received mandatory life sentences. A court heard that they didn’t approve of Sahjda’s marriage.
Alisha Begum, a child of just six-years-old, died in an arson attack on her family’s Birmingham home March 2006. She died of toxic shock after being trapped in her home. Other family members escaped with minor injuries. Two men have been convicted of her manslaughter, one of whom is the father of Alisha’s brother’s girlfriend, whose family didn’t approve of their relationship.
Naziat Khan, 38, was strangled to death at her home in 2001. Her two daughters, who claim they witnessed their father murder their mother, have since called for him to be extradited from Pakistan where he is believed to have fled following the killing.
Kulwinder Kaur from Walsall died age 40 on 18th January 2017. The mother-of-two was murdered by her husband after he found out she had an affair.
Shafilea was born on the 14th July 1986 and grew up in Warrington, Cheshire. Shafilea was ambitious and hoped to be a barrister; she was described by friends as caring, high spirited and determined. Shafilea’s westernised life led to discord within the family and Shafilea started running away from home.
In February 2003 Shafilea was drugged by her parents, with father’s sleeping tablets, and taken to Pakistan against her wishes. Whilst in Pakistan Shafilea was told she would not be returning to the UK and she swallowed half a bottle of bleach in an attempt to make herself unsuitable to be married, her condition failed to improve so she was returned to the UK where she was admitted to hospital and remained there for three months.
In September 2003 Shafilea started college and a part time job in a call centre. Shafilea was still running away from home and had unexplained absences which triggered concern of teachers. Teachers facilitated a meeting with parents, Shafilea disclosed a lack of freedom at home and parents agreed to give her more. Shafilea was last seen alive on September 11th 2003 being collected from the call centre by family members, she failed to attend a serious medical appointment and a former teacher reported her missing, her disappearance was not reported by family. Police launched an appeal.
Cheshire Police arrested Shafilea’s parents and five extended family members, but they were all released without charge. In February 2004 workmen found a badly decomposed body on the bank of the River Kent in Sedgwick, Cumbria, the body had to be identified by dental records and was recognised as Shafilea. Cheshire Police launched a murder investigation.
Shafilea’s sister Alesha was arrested in 2010 for staging an armed robbery at the home. During police interviews she disclosed she had seen her parents kill Shafilea, describing how her parents pushed Shafilea on to the sofa and forced a plastic bag into her mouth, suffocating her in front of her other siblings. Shafilea’s parents were arrested and the case went to trial in 2008.
The prosecution stated Shafilea had been murdered by her parents due to the shame she had brought on the family. Shafilea’s parents denied murder but the jury returned guilty verdicts against them both and parents were sentenced to a minimum of 25 years each without parole.
Banaz was born on the 16th July 1985 in Iraq and moved to London when she was 10 years old having undergone female genital mutilation. At 17 years old Banaz was forced to marry and suffered extreme sexual and physical abuse by her husband. Her family insisted she stay with him due to honour, eventually she was able to leave and returned to the family home.
Banaz started a relationship with family friend Rahmat but they kept it hidden from the family but they were discovered when a family member saw and recorded them kissing at a tube station, the family put the couple under extreme pressure to end the relationship. Banaz repeatedly sought Police assistance and during a succession of interviews predicted who would murder her. Her claims were not taken seriously and therefore not investigated and the family were alerted to these allegations.
A family meeting was called and it was agreed they would kill both Banaz and Rahmat. On one occasion her father made her drag a suitcase into the house, forced her to drink alcohol and made her turn her back on him while he attempted to kill her, Banaz managed to escape and went to hospital where she was filmed, extremely scared, by Rahmat.
In January 2006, aged 20, Banaz was sexually assaulted in her home by male family members, strangled and her body put in a suitcase. Banaz was taken to Birmingham and buried in a back garden. Seven men were jailed in connection with her murder, her father and uncle received life sentences.
Banaz’s boyfriend Rahmat was living under witness protection for ten years, but sadly took his own life in March 2016.
Samaira was born in the UK to a Pakistani family and was a London based graduate and recruitment consultant. In 2000 she fell in love with a new friend of the family, Afghani asylum seeker, Salman, who came to the UK hidden in a lorry. They kept their six year relationship secret for fears of repercussions by Samaira’s family as Salman was from a different caste.
Aged 25, Samaira approached the subject of marriage with her brother but his reaction was anger and the situation escalated. Samaira’s brother thought Salman only wanted to be with her for the family money and threatened to kill him over the phone.
Samaira was beaten and stabbed eighteen times using four different knives, a silk scarf was tightly wrapped around her neck and her throat was slashed three times. The attack had happened in front of extended family members, including two of her nieces aged two and four. Her cousins had blood splatters on their clothing and it was feared they were made to watch the attack as a warning.
Neighbours heard her screams and attempted to intervene but were told she was having a seizure. During the incident Samaira was heard to shout ‘you are not my mother anymore’. Samaira fled her captors but she was grabbed and dragged back in to the house. Police described the scene of the crime as a ‘bloodbath’.
Samaira’s brother was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years and her cousin a minimum term of 10 years, her father was arrested and bailed but he fled to Pakistan where the family claim he passed away, charges against her mother were dropped.
Heshu Yones was 16 when her father discovered she had a relationship with a classmate. Her father Abdullah Yones, attempted to force her to marry a cousin in Kurdistan, and subjected her to virginity testing. He began a life sentence in October 2003 for the murder of Heshu a year earlier. It was the first time in British legal history that a plea of ‘honour killing’ had been entered. Abdullah said he stabbed Heshu to death at their West London home, because he feared she was becoming westernised. Heshu, who was described as popular and fun-loving, planned to run away from home after starting a relationship with an 18-year-old Lebanese boy.
Navjeet Sidhu, 27, and her five-year-old daughter Simran and 23 month old son Aman Raj, died on the 31 August 2005. The former receptionist threw herself and her two children under a Heathrow Express train. An inquest heard that the pressure of being a mother in a Sikh household led to her suicide. Navjeet’s mother took her own life at Southall train station six months later.
Robina Kaur, the sister of Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Sanghera, tragically died after setting herself on fire. Robina was forced to marry at the age of 15, with a 9 month absence from school that was never questioned only to return to school as somebody's wife, with a wedding ring on her finger and significant changes in her behaviour. These were all indicators never questioned by teachers. The suicide came after years of domestic abuse in a marriage which she had chosen. In some ways it was harder as the family made her feel as if she had made her bed by choosing a ‘love marriage’ and now she had to try harder to make it work so not to cause shame on the family. Karma Nirvana was founded in Robina’s memory.
Nazim a Harley Street doctor killed himself by jumping from his luxury penthouse apartment after his mother asked him to seek “a cure” for being gay, an inquest heard. Nazim Mahmood, fell four storeys to his death from the balcony of his flat. Nazim had kept his sexuality secret from his Muslim family in Birmingham, fearing they would refuse to accept it on religious and cultural grounds. Having returned to the family home to celebrate Eid, the 34-year-old revealed his sexuality after his mother asked him if he was gay. She had suggested to him he needed to see a psychiatrist to see if he could be cured. Now his partner Matt Ogston has setup the Naz and Matt Foundation to confront and challenge these views
Died March 2016
On 20th March 2016, Rahmat, who for ten years since the “honour” killing of Banaz Mahmod in 2006, has been living under witness protection, sent a text to a neighbour telling them that he was going to commit suicide, before hanging himself. He was discovered at his home in a coma and died in hospital five days later. Rahmat would visit the family and sometimes have dinner with them. He and Banaz developed a friendship which grew into love.
Varkha Rani moved from India to Walsall. She died aged 24 on 12th September 2013. She was murdered just months after her wedding allegedly to stop her revealing her husband was gay.
Amina Bibi from Forest Gate, London died age 43 on 13th September 2013. She was found by her 11-year-old son after being repeatedly stabbed by a hitman at her home on the orders of her husband.
Mumtahina Jannat from East London was killed aged 29 on 5th July 2011. The mother of two young daughters was strangled at home by her husband after years of domestic abuse. She had been attempting to separate from him when she was murdered.
Salma Parveen from Coventry died aged 22 on 29th April 2013. She was strangled by her husband at their home after he found out she was planning to leave him.