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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 01:58 GMT 02:58 UK
'Honour killing' father begins sentence
Abdalla Yones
Heshu's father Abdalla cut his own throat after killing his daughter
A Muslim man is beginning a life sentence for murdering his daughter because he disapproved of her Christian boyfriend.

Abdullah Yones admitted stabbing 16-year-old Heshu to death at their home in Acton, west London.

The Old Bailey heard Kurdish Abdalla Yones, 48, murdered Heshu on 12 October 2002 because he feared she was becoming westernised.

He pleaded for the court to pass the death sentence on him for his "appalling" crime after he tried to take his own life.

'Strong punch'

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 teacher.

In a letter to her parents, apparently showing she planned to run away, Heshu wrote: "Bye Dad, sorry I was so much trouble.

Violence in the name of culture will not be tolerated
Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt

"Me and you will probably never understand each other, but I'm sorry I wasn't what you wanted, but there's some things you can't change.

"Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick.

"I hope you enjoyed testing your strength on me, it was fun being on the receiving end. Well done."

Yones was a political refugee who fled Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq 10 years ago.

Cut his throat

The court heard that after repeatedly stabbing his daughter and slitting her throat, he cut his own throat and jumped from a third floor balcony.

Scotland Yard described it as a "brutal honour killing" - a reference to the practice of women being killed by male relatives to redeem the family name.

Commander Andy Baker holds a photograph of Heshu
Photographs and a letter by Heshu were released by police
Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt said: "There was nothing, nothing at all 'honourable' about her murder.

"After hacking his daughter to death, Mr Yones has attempted every defence, from psychiatric, and diminished responsibility to extreme provocation, in order to save his own skin."

He added that Yones first claimed al-Qaeda members had broken into the flat, murdered Heshu and then attacked him. He only admitted murdering her last Monday.

Yones's counsel, Icah Peart QC, said his client wanted to be sentenced to death.

Judge Neil Denison said Yones had tried to commit suicide twice but told him he would pass the only sentence he could for murder - life imprisonment.

This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society
Judge Neil Denison

He added: "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."

But Scotland Yard warned the sentence should be a warning to those who condone or stay silent about the mistreatment of women in their communities.

Commander Andy Baker added: "Violence in the name of culture will not be tolerated. Murder in the name of honour will be punished by the severest penalties available in law."

Scotland Yard believe there were 12 'honour killings' in the UK last year and said they were not restricted to Muslims, but also occurred in Sikh and Christian families.

A specialist police unit is researching the practice but police say only a handful of people believed 'honour killings' were an appropriate cultural response.

Mr Baker said people who had tried to shield Abdalla Yones from police could now be investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

"We are completely satisfied that some members of the community, or his friends, tried to assist him in that cover-up," he said.

"It's not about one person committing the murder, it's about the few that acknowledge it and support it and are involved in it."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Anita McVeigh
"He stabbed her and left her to bleed to death"



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