Huddersfield: Family members jailed after abusing son’s wife

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Asgar, Shabnam and Khalid Skeikh were jailed at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday
By Dave Higgens
PA News

A man and his parents have been jailed after a court heard his wife was forced to take medication and doused with a corrosive substance.

Asgar Sheikh, 31, was jailed for seven years and nine months at Leeds Crown Court along with his father, Khalid, 55, and mother, Shabnam, 52.

All three were found guilty of allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer physical harm after a trial last year.

Ambreen Fatima Sheikh suffered life-limiting injuries due to their abuse.

The court heard Ms Sheikh was “tricked or forced” into taking the anti-diabetes drug glimepiride, which induced catastrophic brain injury, in 2015 after she was brought to the UK from Pakistan following a 2014 arranged marriage.

She was also doused in a caustic substance, thought to be a cleaning fluid, at the family’s home in Clara Steet, Huddersfield, in the days prior to her hospital admission in August 2015.

None of the family gave evidence in court and the judge said she could not say for sure when the abuse began.

Now 39, her injuries have left her in a persistent vegetative state from which she will never recover, the court heard.

“It is difficult to imagine a more serious injury short of death,” Mrs Justice Lambert remarked.

Ms Sheikh was said to be in good health before her collapse and there is evidence she was a teacher in Pakistan.

One witness said she was “intelligent, bright, ambitious and happy-go-lucky” before she moved to the UK.

It was initially thought she would die but she began to breathe for herself when her ventilator was turned off in hospital.

Prosecutors said she only survives by being fed through a tube and will eventually die as a consequence of what happened to her.

‘Robbed of her future’

The trial heard that soon after Ms Sheikh arrived in the UK the family became unhappy with her housework and chores.

Police carried out a welfare check in July 2015 but reported her as being fit and well.

Mrs Lambert said she attached “little weight” to their assessment because Ms Sheikh spoke little English and her father-in-law was present during the visit.

She added that she believed there was a two to three-day delay between Ms Sheikh falling unconscious and the family calling an ambulance.

“It’s just not realistic to conclude that you did not all know of Ambreen’s predicament and her desperate need for emergency medical care,” she told the defendants.

Det Ch Insp Matthew Holdsworth, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This has been an awful case in which a young, healthy woman has been catastrophically injured and robbed of her future by the very people she should have expected to protect her.”

Asgar, Khalid, Shabnam and Asgar’s sister, Shagufa Sheikh, were all found guilty after a trial of allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer physical harm after a trial last year.

Asgar, Shabnam and Shagufa were also found guilty of doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

Asgar, Khalid, Shabnam, Shagufa and Asgar’s brother Sakalayne Sheikh were found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Sakalayne, 25, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, and his sister, Shagufa, 29, was given an 18-month sentence, also suspended for two years.

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