Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Honour case Tulay 'still alive'

Tulay Goren
Tulay Goren's body has never been found

A man accused of murdering his 15-year-old daughter in a so-called "honour killing" told a court he believes she is alive and will turn up one day.

Mehmet Goren's daughter Tulay has not been seen since going missing in 1999.

In a defence witness statement, read to the Old Bailey jury, a school friend said Tulay had thought she was pregnant and planned to run away.

Tulay's 49-year-old father, of north London and her uncles, Ali and Cuma Goren, deny murdering the teenager.

"In my heart I believe she is alive somewhere outside England," Mr Goren told a jury at the Old Bailey.

I was a bit shocked by this... I wasn't sure she was serious [about being pregnant]
Nadia Mahmood, schoolfriend

Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw asked Mehmet Goren: "You maintain, do you, that Tulay is alive?"

Mehmet Goren, of Woodford Green, north London, replied: "Highly probable."

"Where do you think she is?" Mr Laidlaw asked.

"In my heart I believe she is alive somewhere outside England," said Mehmet Goren.

"That girl has never faded in my heart and one day she will turn up," he added.

Mr Laidlaw asked: "That is the reality - you have done nothing? And you have done nothing because you killed this child back in 1999?"

Mehmet Goren replied: "That's not true, no."

Later on, Michael Turner QC, for Mehmet, read out a statement from her old school friend Nadia Mahmood.

The defence statement told of Tulay's relationship with a 30-year-old man and said she would often rush into school late after seeing him.

"It was on one of these mornings near to the time she went missing that she rushed in to sit next to me and in a hushed voice because of the teachers, Tulay told me she thought she was pregnant and she was going to run away," Miss Mahmood said.

'Anger over relationship'

"I was a bit shocked by this but couldn't speak because we were in the assembly. I wasn't sure she was serious. It is the sort of thing teenagers sometimes say."

According to prosecutors, Tulay was murdered because of her relationship with boyfriend Halil Unal.

The jury has been told her family did not approve of him because he was from a different branch of Islam.

Mehmet Goren and Tulay's uncles Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, both from Walthamstow, east London, also deny conspiring to murder Mr Unal between May 1998 and February 1999.

The case continues.

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