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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 19:29 GMT
Missing girl 'feared dead'
Shafilea Ahmed
Doctors fear Shafilea may have died from her injuries
Police fear a teenage girl who has been missing for two months may have been killed.

Shafilea Ahmed disappeared from her home in Cheshire after she had been taken to Pakistan for a family wedding, where her family found her a husband.

On Wednesday officers from Cheshire Police were searching an area of wasteland in her home town of Warrington and the force said the 17-year-old was "almost certainly dead".

Her disappearance came after she apparently drank bleach while she was in Pakistan, in a possible protest about the idea of an arranged marriage.

Shafilea was left with injuries to her throat and stomach and spent five weeks in hospital before returning to England.

Doctors have said that without further treatment since she disappeared, she might have died from her injuries, but detectives have not discounted the theory she was murdered.

Shafilea, known as Shaf to her friends, was last seen on 11 September.

Police searching for Shafilea Ahmed
Police searched wasteland for the girl's body

It is understood she was under no pressure from her family to accept the marriage proposal.

Detective Chief Inspector Geraint Jones said: "The family say that Shafilea had her freedom to make up her own mind.

"However, we're investigating the circumstances in relation to the marriage in Pakistan, the marriage proposal in Pakistan and events leading up to the trip in Pakistan."

Surgeons have said that without treatment since she disappeared, the scarring in Shafilea's throat would have caused it to close up.

Surgeon Martin Brett, from Warrington District Hospital, said: "I would have thought it was unlikely she would have been able to take food and possibly fluids if she has not had any treatment in the period since she went missing."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andy Gill
"On waste ground near Shafilia Ahmed's home in Warrington, a police team make a painstaking search"



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