Sara Sharif’s father and two relatives face Old Bailey murder trial

The father of Sara Sharif and two other relatives are facing a trial next autumn over the death of the ten-year-old, who a court heard was found with “a constellation of injuries”.

‌Urfan Sharif, 41, stepmother Beinash Batool, 29, and uncle Faisal Malik, 28, all appeared via videolink at the Old Bailey on Tuesday accused of her murder.

‌The trio, who are also charged with causing or allowing the death of a child, returned to the UK from Pakistan last week – after travelling abroad the day before Sara’s body was discovered at her home in Woking, Surrey.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC, the ‌Recorder of London, set a plea hearing date for Dec 1 and a provisional six-week trial to begin on Sept 2 2024.

‌“This court is extremely busy and finding fixtures earlier than that at this court building simply isn’t possible.

‌“It may be this case can be tried more rapidly elsewhere, but there’s obviously quite a bit of work to be done”, he said.

‌Judge Lucraft added: “It’s very likely that there will have to be discussion as to whether this case is presided over by me or a High Court judge.”

‌The court heard that there was still a “significant amount of post mortem work ongoing”.

‌A preliminary examination found that Sara had suffered “multiple and extensive injuries” over a “sustained and extended” period of time.

‌The court heard the exact cause of her death was still to be established, but she had a number of “healed and healing fractures” that “clearly demonstrate” she had been subject to “multiple events of violence”.

Sara Sharif's father Urfan Sharif (right) and her uncle Faisal Malik, appearing via video-link from Belmarsh prison

Sara Sharif’s uncle Faisal Malik (left) and father Urfan Sharif, appearing via video-link from Belmarsh prison – Elizabeth Cook/PA

‘Violence culminated in her death’

‌Prosecutor Giles Bedloe told the court Sara was discovered with a “constellation of healed and healing injuries”.

‌He added: “Sara sustained a number of injuries – a healed fracture to one of her clavicles, multiple rib fractures, multiple bruising to the torso and limbs and the presence of haemorrhage on her brain.

‌“There were multiple healing fractures on different parts of body suggesting multiple events of violence over a period of time which must have culminated in her death.”

‌Mr Sharif, wearing a grey tracksuit, and his brother, Mr Malik, wearing a red top and grey tracksuit bottom, appeared via video link from high security HMP Belmarsh.

‌Ms Batool, wearing a dark grey t-shirt, appeared via videolink from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.

‌At a previous magistrates court hearing, prosecutors outlined the events that took place in the aftermath of Sara’s death.

‌Police were first made aware after receiving an eight-minute-long call from Pakistan at 2.47am on Aug 10.

‌Officers made their way to the Surrey home and discovered Sara lying face up and fully clothed under a blanket.

‌The day before Sara was found, the three defendants allegedly left the UK for Pakistan with five children, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

‌Last Wednesday, the trio, of Hammond Road in Woking, returned to the UK and were arrested after landing at Gatwick Airport.

‌The schoolgirl was identified using the DNA of her mother Olga Sharif, who lives in Somerset, and another relative. Ms Sharif is currently being supported by specialist officers.

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