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Shafilea friends' plea to killer

18 January 08 15:40 GMT

Friends of murdered Warrington teenager Shafilea Ahmed have made an appeal to try to catch her killers.

Emma Pearson and Melissa Powner went to Great Sankey High School in Warrington with Shafilea, of Liverpool Road.

The 17-year-old's decomposed body was found on a riverbank in Cumbria in February 2004, six months after she vanished.

At the inquest into her death, which ended on 11 January, Coroner Ian Smith ruled she had been unlawfully killed.

During the five-day hearing, friends of the schoolgirl, community workers and teachers revealed Shafilea has confided that she was being forced into an arranged marriage by her parents.

Miss Powner said: "No matter what she'd always be laughing, she'd always try to make the best out of everything.

"In every situation whether it was her situation at home or for us she would always turn it around so that we would all be coming out smiling."

A medical expert said she had been strangled or smothered.

The coroner said the concept of an arranged marriage was central to Shafilea's untimely death.

After the inquest verdict Cheshire Police said their murder inquiry would continue until her killer or killers are caught.

Shafilea's parents were arrested on suspicion of kidnap along with five relatives from Bradford but no charges were brought.

Arranged marriage

In a statement written by Shafilea before her death, she said her parents beat and robbed from her and were sending her to Pakistan to be married.

Both girls have now appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Emma said: "We just plead with anybody that knows anything, however little they think it may be, to come forward because somebody who was such an amazing person didn't deserve their life to be taken away from them."

Shafilea went missing on 11 September 2003 shortly after returning from a trip to Pakistan, where it was said she had drunk bleach after meeting a possible suitor in her arranged marriage.

She was due to meet Miss Powner and Miss Pearson on the 11 September but she didn't return their text messages.

Seven days later teachers reported the teenager missing.

In February 2004 when her body was discovered by workmen only jewellery and dental records could identify her.

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