Sara Sharif: Father claimed death was accident, says grandad in Pakistan

Sara Sharif
Sara Sharif was found dead in her home in Woking on 10 August

The father of Sara Sharif claimed his daughter's death was an accident, the 10-year-old's grandfather has said.

In an interview with the BBC, Muhammad Sharif - the father of Urfan Sharif, Sara's dad - said he saw his son after he arrived in Pakistan.

"It was an accident, he didn't tell me how it happened," said Muhammad, and that Urfan had left the UK out of fear.

Post-mortem tests have found Sara sustained "multiple and extensive injuries".

Pakistan police have been hunting for Urfan, his partner and his brother for weeks but have failed to find them.

UK police want to speak to the three family members in relation to their murder investigation - but the trio left the UK for Pakistan on 9 August, the day before Sara's body was found in Woking, Surrey.

Speaking to the BBC, Muhammad confirmed that he did see his son in Pakistan when Urfan came to Jhelum, the city he was raised in and where many of his family still live.

When asked why Urfan came to Pakistan if the death was an accident, Muhammad replied: "Because of fear.

"His daughter died and when you go under so much trauma, obviously you can't think properly."

Asked how he felt about his son travelling to Pakistan, Mr Sharif said: "All I can say is that they should have faced the case. They should have stayed there and faced it instead (of coming to Pakistan)."

He said: "They will ultimately go back to the UK and face their case."

Muhammad was visibly upset speaking about Sara.

"I have a deep sorrow that my granddaughter passed. The grief will stay with me for the rest of my life."

He said she had visited Pakistan twice. "Everything about her was so beautiful. You cannot single out one thing, she was a very lovely granddaughter."

He had a direct message for his son, Urfan, his partner Beinash Batool and his brother Faisal Malik. They left the UK on 9 August and police want to speak to all three in relation to the murder investigation.

"Wherever they are, they will be able to listen to this. I say they should come out, defend their case, whatever it is. They should answer the questions. I don't say they should stay in hiding."

The family are thought by Pakistan police to have landed in Islamabad international airport early on 10 August, travelled to the city of Jhelum where they stayed for a few days, stopping for a few hours in the village of Domeli and leaving on 13 August.

Muhammad denies that he has been in touch with Urfan recently. The police told the BBC that the family initially said Urfan had not been to see them at all. Muhammad said that this was not correct, that he never denied seeing his UK-based son.

Urfan's Pakistan-based family have taken Jhelum police to court twice, accusing them of detaining several of Urfan's brothers and brothers-in-law illegally. On the first occasion the police said they would not arrest them further. In court on Tuesday, the police denied holding them; the judge told the police they must produce a report in the next two weeks explaining what has happened.

"We have had so many problems the last three weeks," Muhammad Sharif told us. "Some of my sons are on the run, others are with police. No one is making contact with us because of fear of the police."