LAHORE, Pakistan: The British-Pakistani father of a 10-year-old girl found dead at her home in England last month was on a plane back to the UK with his partner and brother, Pakistan police said Wednesday, after the trio went on the run for weeks.
Sara Sharif’s body was found in the southern UK town of Woking on August 10 and a post-mortem examination revealed she had suffered “multiple and extensive injuries” over a sustained period, British police said last month.
“We can confirm the three suspects in the case boarded a flight earlier and are on their way to the UK,” Jhelum police spokesman Mudassar Khan told AFP, adding that they had voluntarily gone with the knowledge of authorities.
British police had previously said that Urfan Sharif, 41, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother Faisal Malik, 28, fled to Pakistan to take refuge with relatives before the girl’s body was found, sparking an international manhunt.
“I confirm that they have not been arrested but they left voluntarily,” Raja Haq Nawaz, a lawyer for Urfan Sharif’s father, told AFP.
Gone into hiding
He said the three were on a flight that left from the Punjabi city of Sialkot.
Earlier this month, Sharif and Batool appeared in a video distributed to media, in which Batool said they were “willing to cooperate with UK authorities and fight our case in court”.
“All of our family members have gone into hiding as everyone is scared for their safety,” she said, alleging malpractice by the Pakistan police hunting them.
In the two-and-a-half-minute low-quality video there was little mention of Sara’s death, which Batool said was an “incident”.
Surrey police said the trio were thought to have flown to Islamabad on August 9, the day before Sara’s body was found.
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.
Five children aged between one and 13 brought to Pakistan with the adults were discovered at the home of Urfan Sharif’s father on Monday.
A magistrate placed the children into state protective services on Tuesday.
The house was otherwise empty, and the manhunt continued with Interpol and Britain’s foreign ministry coordinating with authorities in Pakistan.