- Naila Afsar’s family ‘wanted her to marry first cousin who lived in Denmark’
- Elder brother ‘hit sister with her mobile phone and threatened to kill her’
Last updated at 5:19 PM on 1st November 2011
A young Asian bride was drugged and held prisoner by her family after she broke off an arranged engagement to her first cousin and secretly married another man, a court heard today.
Naila Afsar, 23, was also threatened with death, assaulted and abused by angry close relatives after they discovered she had wed Afsar Saddiq without telling them, it was alleged.
She was given a milky drink laced with a prescription-only sedative in a bid to put her to sleep while they took her back to the family home – and away from her new husband, it was said.
Shamim Akhtar, Naila’s mother (left), and sister, Saima Mahmood (right), are accused of drugging the Asian bride after she broke off an arranged marriage
Mr Saddiq, meanwhile, was visited by Naila Afsar’s family, who told him his new wife would not be returning before stealing his mobile phone to stop the couple keeping in contact, a jury heard.
Naila Afsar’s mother Shamim Akhtar, 58, father Mohammed Khan, 57, her elder brother Shamrez Khan, 34, all from Bradford, West Yorkshire, and her sister Saima Mahmood, 30, and her brother-in-law Zahid Mahmood, 36, both of Accrington, face a string of charges.
They all deny false imprisonment, kidnap and two charges of administering the drug lorazepam with intent, in January last year, after claiming in a police interview they were trying to help Naila ‘resolve a domestic situation’.
Mr Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, told Burnley Crown Court Naila Afsar’s family wanted her to marry her first cousin, who lived in Denmark.
Naila became engaged to him in May 2009, but she realised they were not suited to one another and in July 2009, called it off.
‘Her family was upset with her and that was, perhaps, putting it mildly,’ said Mr Dickinson.
‘The complainant ran away from the family home and went to live with a friend in Newcastle, thinking the defendants could not reach her.’
Naila’s father, Mohammed Khan, 57, left, and brother Shamrez Khan, 34, are also accused of drugging and kidnapping her after she secretly married another man
Mr Dickinson said that while in Newcastle, she met Mr Saddiq, they got on well and were wed in November 2009 at a local mosque, without her family knowing.
‘The family found out soon after and towards the end of November, Naila Afsar visited the family home in Bradford with her new husband to introduce him to her family, in the hope of resolving their differences,’ added the prosecutor.
‘It wasn’t an overwhelming success, but Naila Afsar said she would return to Bradford at the end of November, for Eid.
‘She did so and was put under a lot of pressure from her family, who were not happy about her having broken off the engagement and married a man they did not know or approve of.
The prosecutor said when the alleged victim went to Bradford for Eid, she was threatened and abused by her relatives, who wanted her to separate from Mr Saddiq or divorce him and start a relationship on a different footing, in accordance with their wishes.
Mr Jonathan Dickinson, prosecutor
Naila Afsar disagreed and went to live in Newcastle with her husband, determined to have no more contact with her family.
On the morning of Sunday, January 17, last year, the newlyweds were in bed at their home, when they heard banging on the doors and the door bell being rung continually, the court heard.
They heard Shamrez Khan shouting in an aggressive way and he then appeared in their bedroom.
The other defendants, apart from her father, were in the living room and at first they were pleasant, acting as if it was a perfectly normal thing for a family to do.
Saima Mahmood tried to pressure her to go back to Accrington, promising no harm would come to her and telling her if she wanted to return to Newcastle she would be allowed to go back straight away.
Naila agreed to go to Accrington with them and to stay just one night at their home.
Accused: Naila’s family all denied kidnap and administering drugs with intent at Burnley Crown Court
At the Accrington property, there was only Mrs Afsar, the Mahmoods and their young children present, everyone got on well, she felt comfortable and said she would stay another night and go home on the Tuesday.
The prosecutor continued: ‘It seems that that evidence reveals that her sister Saima Mahmood used the closeness of their relationship, really to trick her into coming back to Accrington and then staying, so that the family could exert more pressure on her with relation to her marriage and her relationship with Mr Saddiq.’
Unbeknown to the alleged victim, her mother, her brother and brother-in-law had travelled back up to Newcastle in the middle of the night, confronted Mr Saddiq and collected Naila Afsar’s belongings, including her passport.
When Naila Afsar awoke on the Tuesday morning, she found she could not get hold of her husband, despite the fact they had been in regular contact.
Mr Dickinson said it transpired Shamrez Khan had threatened Mr Saddiq, tried to punch him and told him his wife would be staying in Bradford and wouldn’t be going back. Mr Saddiq’s mobile phone was also taken from him.
Akhtar and Shamrez Khan then turned up in Accrington with the alleged victim’s belongings and told her they had been up to Newcastle, spoken to Mr Saddiq and ‘effectively sorted him out’.
Shamrez Khan took his sister’s mobile phone, hit her twice across the face and threatened to kill her, the court heard.
Naila Afsar wasn’t prepared to tolerate the way she was being treated and said she wanted to go back to Newcastle. Saima Mahmood once again tried to win her sister’s trust and told her she was prepared to take her back to Newcastle that same day.
She then persuaded her sister to have some warm milk and immediately after drinking it, Mrs Afsar felt dizzy, was repeatedly sick, everything became blurred and she couldn’t keep her eyes open.
The prosecutor said the alleged victim lost track of time and had very little recollection of the next few hours.
She remembered her father Mohammed Khan arriving in Accrington and felt herself being led to a car, but the next thing she recalled after that was the police knocking on the window of the vehicle.
By that stage, 9.05pm, she was at a petrol station in Baxenden, Lancashire, in Zahid Mahmood’s car. He was driving and she and her father were in the back.
Mr Dickinson said: ‘ According to the police, she appeared intoxicated, extremely drowsy and they thought she needed to be taken to hospital.
‘Blood and urine samples were taken from her, analysed and the drug lorazepam was found, consistent with her having been given a dose of this drug some time in the hours leading up to those samples being taken.’
The court heard the defendants were arrested on January 20, were interviewed and all claimed they had only been trying to help Naila Afsar out in resolving a domestic situation.
The trial continues.