Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

'Honour killing' father given life for Tulay murder


Tulay Goren filmed at a family wedding party

A father has been jailed for life, with a minimum tariff of 22 years, for murdering his 15-year-old daughter in a so-called honour killing.

Tulay Goren disappeared in 1999 after having a relationship with a man her family disapproved of.

At the Old Bailey, her father Mehmet, 49, was convicted of murder. His brothers Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, were cleared of the charge.

Tulay was last seen at her home in north London, in January 1999.

The body of the schoolgirl - who told a friend she may have been pregnant just before she disappeared - has never been found.

The court previously heard Mehmet Goren disapproved of Tulay's relationship with factory worker Halil Unal because of religious differences and the fact Mr Unal was 15 years older than Tulay.

I wake up at night wondering where Tulay may be. In quiet moments during the day I ask myself if she suffered
Nuray Guler, Tulay's sister

Goren and his brothers Cuma and Ali, both from Walthamstow, east London, were all cleared of conspiring to murder Mr Unal, between May 1998 and February 1999.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Bean, said Goren's attempts to appear a "thoroughly modern and enlightened family man failed to deceive the jury".

"The reality is that your enigmatic smile conceals a violent and dominating personality," he told the killer.

"Your wife Hanim has finally had the courage to break free of the domination and reveal what she knew of what you did in January 1999."

Goren disposed of the schoolgirl's body "with such ingenuity that it has never been found", the judge said.

Police released this image of the axe used to attack Halil Unal

"There is nothing honourable about such a hideous practice or the people who carry it out," he added.

Mr Justice Bean made clear Goren would not be eligible for parole until 2030, when he will be nearly 70.

The court had heard that on 7 January 1999, the part-time fish and chip shop worker, told his son Tuncay to kiss Tulay goodbye at their home in Woodford Green, London, as he would never see his sister again.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said he killed Tulay "to restore the so-called honour" of the family, who originate from Turkey.

The term "honour" was an "appalling and inappropriate way" to "dignify" the offence, he added.

The court heard Mr Unal was brought up as a Sunni Muslim while the Gorens were from the Alevi branch of the faith.

Despite coming from places no more than 60 miles apart in Turkey, a relationship between the sects "would not have been tolerated", and Tulay was killed by Goren "to avoid further humiliation".

Overgrown garden
It is believed Tulay was temporarily buried in this garden

The court was also told Goren served three years in jail for a hatchet attack on Mr Unal, 13 days after the murder.

But the attack and the disappearance were treated separately and it was two months before detectives began to suspect Tulay had been murdered.

Mehmet Goren's wife Hanim, 45, is now living in fear after she named him as their daughter's killer, saying he had "swallowed" Tulay.

He collapsed in the dock at the Old Bailey as she began giving evidence against him and she later screamed at her husband across the courtroom, demanding to know what he had done with the girl.

Police said they were now better able to recognise "tell-tale signs" connected to honour violence.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said that the Goren case was a "terrible reminder of what honour-based crime can involve" and a "wake-up call" to the existence of the problem in this country.

Following the verdict, police and lawyers praised Mrs Goren and Tulay's sisters.

Det Ch Insp John MacDonald: 'He has had no remorse whatsoever'

Detective Inspector John Macdonald of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "Although it has taken some time, there has finally been some justice for Tulay."

Tulay's older sister Nuray Guler, 28, has called on her father to tell the family where she was buried.

"For my father, I have only one request. I ask that he finally discloses the whereabouts of my sister," she said.

"I wake up at night wondering where Tulay may be. In quiet moments during the day I ask myself if she suffered or knew what was in store for her."

In a statement read outside court on behalf of Ali Goren, he said: "The case has caused so much suffering for the Goren family."

Cuma Goren also thanked the jury and said he would like to go home to have time to spend with his family.

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