The parents of a teenager murdered her because she failed to conform to their wishes for an arranged marriage and she allegedly “brought shame” on the family, a court has heard.

Shafilea Ahmed, who was 17 when she died in September 2003, was described as a westernised British girl of Pakistani origin at the start of her parents’ murder trial at Chester crown court. Her parents, Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, a taxi driver, from Warrington, Cheshire, and his wife, Farzana, 49, a housewife, are accused of murder.

Shafilea’s badly decomposed remains were discovered by workmen in Sedgwick, Cumbria, five months after she disappeared in February 2004, the jury was told.

Prosecutor Andrew Evis QC told the jury on Monday morning that her parents had standards that she was “reluctant to follow”. In particular, like most 16- or 17-year-old girls, she wanted boyfriends, Evis said, which caused intense pressure on the family. Her parents controlled her so she didn’t have freedom of movement, the court heard. She ran away from home in 2002 and early 2003, but always returned.

In the year before she died, the prosecution said, her parents “embarked on a campaign of domestic violence and abuse directed at her and designed to force her to conform so that she behaved in a way that was expected”.

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