Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Friday, 11 January 2008

Shafilea murder hunt to continue

Poster launched by police in December 2004
Detectives said the murder inquiry had been lengthy and complex

Detectives investigating the murder of teenager Shafilea Ahmed have said their inquiry will not close until her killer or killers are brought to justice.

Speaking after an inquest ruled the 17-year-old was unlawfully killed, Det Supt Geraint Jones, of Cheshire Police, said Shafilea had "never had justice".

He said: "There is someone out there who knows what happened to Shafilea, and has not told us."

The "huge inquiry" had already spanned many counties and countries, he added.

The decomposed body of Miss Ahmed was found on a Cumbria riverbank in February 2004, six months after she went missing from her Warrington home.

Det Supt Jones told a news conference in Kendal that officers were awaiting permission to travel to Pakistan to continue their investigations.

Lines of inquiry have led to stark confrontations about what they were doing at different times in their daughter's life
David Baines, Assistant Chief Constable, Cheshire Police

David Baines, Cheshire assistant chief constable, addressed criticism which police received during the inquest from Miss Ahmed's mother, Farzana, about the way in which officers had treated the family.

Mr Baines said: "Some of those words that criticised the officers for failing to work closely with them are unacceptable and need to be addressed.

"Lines of inquiry have led to stark confrontations about what they were doing at different times in their daughter's life.

"Working closely has been deeply difficult. Within two days of the body being found we were denied access to the family and had to go via family representatives."

'Not stereotyping'

He denied his officers had racially stereotyped the family in their investigations.

He said: "The evidence drives the inquiry and if that means we have to ask the family hard questions then it is legitimate we follow those lines of inquiry.

"It was difficult and will continue to be difficult, but that is not racially stereotyping."

Det Supt Jones said part of the police inquiry had looked at Miss Ahmed's family tree and the hierarchy within her family.

He said the family tree which had been provided to police was "not quite accurate", and said he believed Miss Ahmed's grandfather, Mian Khan, who gave evidence at her inquest, was in fact her uncle.

Det Supt Jones said the "key focus" of police inquiries was on the "people in her life" and on the events which happened after the teenager left work on the night of her disappearance.

He urged anyone with information about Miss Ahmed's murder to come forward.

"Now is the time to come forward and help bring to justice the killer or killers of Shafilea Ahmed - a beautiful and vulnerable young girl", he said.

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