LONDON — The father, stepmother and uncle of a 10-year-old girl found dead in her U.K. home appeared in court on murder charges Friday after being arrested and deported from Pakistan after an extensive police search.
Sara Sharif was found dead with extensive injuries at her home in Woking, 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of London, on Aug. 10. Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, 41; his partner Beinash Batool, 29; and his 28-year-old brother, Faisal Malik are charged with murder and causing or allowing the death of a child. They appeared for a brief hearing at Guildford Magistrates’ Court near Woking, speaking only to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses.
They were not asked to enter pleas, but their lawyers said they deny the charges. They were ordered detained until their next court hearing on Tuesday.
The three suspects had traveled to Islamabad, the Pakistani capital along with five children, a day before police discovered the girl’s body.
Prosecutor Amanda Burrows told the court that police went to the family home in Woking after receiving a call from Pakistan on Aug. 10. Officers found the 10-year-old dead in a bed under a blanket. An autopsy did not establish a cause of death, but the prosecutor said it showed Sara had healed fractures and other injuries indicating “multiple events of violence."
Pakistani police began a search and detained 10 relatives of Urfan Sharif, including his father, brothers and cousins, for interrogation in an attempt to pressure the couple to surrender.
The three suspects were arrested by police in Pakistan on Wednesday and put on a flight to Gatwick Airport, where they were arrested.
The girl’s five siblings, ranging in age from 1 to 13, were recovered by Pakistani police on Monday evening from Urfan Sharif’s family home in central Pakistan. A court ordered the children to be placed in the custody of the Child Protection Bureau in Rawalpindi city, close to Islamabad.