Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 18:43 UK

Woman 'never smiled' with accused

Sabrina and Yasmine Larbi-Cherif
Sabrina and Yasmine Larbi-Cherif had shared a flat

A woman who was killed by her "on-off" boyfriend never seemed happy when she was with him, her friend told a court.

Yasmine Larbi-Cherif, 22, was stabbed to death with her sister Sabrina, 19, at their Birmingham flat in September.

Amaria Zidouk, 22, who shared the flat, told the jury Yasmine "almost never smiled" when she was with Mohammed Ali.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Mr Ali, 29, of Old Snow Hill, Birmingham, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.

Giving evidence, Ms Zidouk, said: She (Yasmine) used to smile a lot.

"She almost never smiled when I saw her with him.

"She was not happy but she was not angry either. I did not see her smile in his company."

'Kept secrets'

The jury has heard that Mr Ali stabbed the sisters in the lounge of their city centre flat before dragging their bodies into a bedroom.

David Crigman QC said the accused stabbed the younger victim 32 times at the fourth-floor flat in the Jupiter Apartments complex.

The sisters were found naked from the waist down lying on their beds, the jury has been told.

In a statement read out to the court, their brother Ghiles Larbi-Cherif, said he did not think Yasmine had been looking for a boyfriend, but added "she can keep secrets" and did not discuss her private life with him.

He said he had a close relationship with his sisters, particularly Sabrina who he used to go to choir practice with.

He said she played the guitar and liked football and "is a girl who jokes a lot".

The jury heard that the family moved to the UK from Algeria in 1998.

The sisters were in contact with their parents, who lived in Wembley, north London, or their three brothers, a least once a day.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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