Sabia Rani, was only 19 when she was found dead in the home she shared with her husband and in-laws in Oakwood, Leeds in England in 2006. She had been in the UK for 5 months and the family claimed they found her dead in the bath and told policemen and courtrooms they believed black magic killed her.
However the investigation into her death revealed she was repeatedly attacked over a three-week period, suffering bruising over 90% of her body, which included at least 15 fractures in 10 fractured ribs.
Shazad Khan, her husband, was convicted of murdering her and after his trial police arrested and charged her mother-in-law Phullan Bibi, sisters-in-law Nazia Naureen, Uzma Khan and her husband Majid Hussain for turning a blind eye towards their brother’s behaviour.
Professor Christopher Milroy a pathologist of 16 years said Sabia’s injuries were worse than those suffered by victims of road traffic accidents and that she would have been suffering illness and severe trauma for the last 3 weeks of her life. However, the family claimed they saw no injuries on her body and didn’t realise she was in pain.
Sabia had left school at 13 to help look after her siblings in the village of Palak, in the Mirpur district of Pakistan. When she arrived in Britain, she had no grasp of English, knew no one else apart from her husband’s family and never went out alone. Her home was in fact her prison.
Shazad Khan eventually admitted to police he was unhappy to find that she did not place fresh sandwiches in his lunch box, which he left in the kitchen at the family home, or when she did produce sandwiches, she had failed to establish that he was off work the following day, which also angered him.
He complained to police that Sabia found the smallest tasks including grocery shopping or knowing how to apply make-up – difficult. Khan said in his police interview that this irritated him, as did Sabia’s failure to fit in with his family.
Roshni Sheffield Asian Women’s Resource Centre wants to get more help for women who arrive in this country as spouses of British citizens and suffer domestic violence but get no help from public bodies.
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