Father and two other relatives to face trial next year over Sara Sharif’s death
The father of Sara Sharif has been ordered to face trial next autumn as a court heard the 10-year-old suffered a “constellation” of injuries culminating in her death.
On Tuesday, Urfan Sharif appeared at the Old Bailey alongside Sara’s stepmother, Beinash Batool, and uncle, Faisal Malik, following their return from Pakistan last week.
All three are charged with murdering Sara and causing or allowing the death of a child.
The court heard that Surrey Police had found Sara’s body after receiving a call from Pakistan, which lasted eight minutes and 34 seconds, at 2.47am on August 10.
The defendants’ flight to Pakistan had been booked two days earlier, on August 8, the court was told.
Officers arrived at the family home in Woking, Surrey, and found the young girl lying face up and fully clothed under a blanket in a bunk bed in an upstairs room.
She was identified using the DNA of her mother, Olga Sharif, who lives in Somerset, and another relative.
Prosecutor Giles Bedloe told the court that Sara was found to have “a constellation of healed and healing injuries”.
They allegedly included a healed fracture to her collar bone, a healed fracture to the hyoid bone in her neck, multiple rib fractures, bruising to her torso and limbs, and a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Bedloe alleged: “It follows Sara had been subjected to multiple events of violence over a sustained period of time that must have culminated in her death.”
He added: “There is quite a significant amount of post-mortem work ongoing and that will continue.”
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 on landing at Gatwick Airport.
At the court hearing on Tuesday, Sharif, 41, Batool, 29, and Malik, 28, appeared at the Old Bailey by video-link from Belmarsh high-security jail in south London and Bronzefield women’s prison in Surrey.
They spoke only to confirm their identities and dates of birth before a timetable was set for their case.
The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft KC, said a plea hearing will take place before him on December 1.
A six-week trial at the Old Bailey was provisionally set to start on September 2 2024.
Judge Lucraft said a decision will be made later on whether the trial should be heard by a High Court judge.
The defendants were all remanded into custody until their next hearing.
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox