Sara Sharif’s fugitive stepmother releases video message – and addresses girl’s death

World

The stepmother of Sara Sharif, the 10-year-old girl found dead at her home last month, has spoken for the first time in a video shared with Sky News and said the family is willing to co-operate with British authorities and “fight our case in court”.

Police want to speak to Sara’s father Urfan Sharif, 41, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother Faisal Shahzad Malik, 28, who are all believed to have travelled from the UK to Pakistan the day before the girl’s body was found at her home in Woking, Surrey.

In a new video, Mr Sharif and Ms Batool are sitting side-by-side as she reads a prepared statement from a notebook.

She refutes media reports that Mr Sharif’s brother Imran said Sara fell down the stairs and claims the family has “gone into hiding”.

“Firstly, I would like to talk about Sara. Sara’s death was an incident. Our family in Pakistan are severely affected by all that is going on,” Ms Batool said.

She spoke about the worry she has for the family’s safety and claimed they have been misrepresented in the press.

“All the media have been giving wrong statements and making up lies.

“Imran [one of Mr Sharif’s brothers] did not give a statement that Sara fell down the stairs and broke her neck. This was spread through a Pakistani media outlet. I am very worried about Imran’s safety.”

She claims they are running out of food and are unable to venture outside.

“All of our family members have gone into hiding as everyone is scared for their safety.

“The kids are unable to attend school as they’re afraid to leave the house. No one is leaving the house.

“The groceries have run out and there is no food for the kids as the adults are unable to leave their homes out of fear for safety.”

Sara Sharif. Pic: AP
Image:
Sara Sharif. Pic: AP

Despite apparently leaving for Pakistan the day before Sara’s body was discovered, Ms Batool insists she, along with her husband and brother-in-law want to help resolve the situation.

“Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court.”

A post-mortem examination last month revealed Sara had “suffered multiple and extensive injuries” that were “likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time”.

Her cause of death has yet to be determined – but an inquest has heard it is “likely to be unnatural”.

She was previously known to authorities, according to Surrey County Council, while Surrey Police said they had “limited and historic contact” with Sara’s family.

Read more:
School pays tribute to ‘bubbly and confident’ Sara

Trio booked flights to Pakistan a day before body found

Police believe the three travelled to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad with five children aged between one and 13 on 9 August – one day before Sara’s body was found.

Mr Sharif called 999 from Pakistan on 10 August, expressing concern for her safety, according to officers.

Police in Pakistan have been trying their “level best” to locate the family, while Interpol and other agencies are also involved in the hunt to find them.

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Sara Sharif’s grandfather makes plea to son

Sara’s grandfather urged his son in recent days to “present himself” to police and give his “point of view” following the girl’s death.

Muhammad Sharif, 68, told Sky News: “We appeal to the police to release my family members.

“I have tried my best to contact Urfan and ask him to present himself and give his point of view.”

Last week, a cousin of Ms Batool urged her to “come back to the UK” and hand herself in to the police.

Sky News has contacted Surrey Police and officers in Pakistan for comment.

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