THE father, stepmother and uncle of a 10-year-old girl whose death sparked an international manhunt in Pakistan have appeared in court in the UK charged with her murder.
The court hearing came after the three were arrested on Wednesday (13) after disembarking a flight from Dubai after spending a month in the south Asian country.
Sara Sharif’s body was discovered at the family’s home near Woking, southern England, on August 10. A post-mortem examination revealed she had sustained “multiple and extensive injuries” over a sustained period.
Sara’s father Urfan Sharif, 41, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother Faisal Malik, 28, all travelled to Pakistan to stay with relatives before her body was found.
The three appeared in the dock at a magistrates’ court in Guildford, southern England, flanked by police officers.
They spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses.
All three have also been charged with causing or allowing the death of a child, Surrey Police said earlier in a statement.
No pleas to any of the charges were entered during the short hearing.
Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram remanded the defendants in custody. Their next court appearance will be at London’s Old Bailey on Tuesday (19).
Surrey Police said previously the trio were thought to have flown to Islamabad on August 9, the day before Sara’s body was discovered.
An early morning emergency call alerting officers to Sara’s death was made from Pakistan by a man identifying himself as the father, detectives said.
The house was otherwise empty, and the manhunt continued with Interpol and Britain’s foreign ministry coordinating with authorities in Pakistan.
Five of Sara’s purported siblings, aged between one and 13, and brought to Pakistan with the adults, were discovered at the home of Urfan Sharif’s father on Monday (11).
The girl’s Polish mother, Olga Sharif, has said she could barely recognise her daughter’s small, battered body when she identified her at the mortuary last month.
She told Polish television one of her cheeks was swollen and the other side of her face was bruised.
Olga and Urfan separated in 2015, and Sara and her older brother had lived with their mother until a family court determined in 2019 that they should reside with their father, according to UK media.