A few months ago I went to see the English film version of one of Stieg Larsson’s excellent novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In the climax of the film there is a scene in which a psychopathic killer strings up one of the characters on a chain and then proceeds to suffocate them by placing a clear plastic bag over their head.
I found it quite a shocking and disturbing scene, which it is absolutely intended to be, because the whole point is to make clear the extraordinary evil of the killer, and the real consequence of his appalling behaviour. It left me feeling quite sick. I suspect it was quite realistic about what would happen if you did that to some poor soul. And it went on for quite a long time.
So, both parents of Shafilea Ahmed have been found guilty of the murder of their daughter. Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, of Warrington, Cheshire, stand up and take a bow! In the name of the honour of your family, you killed your teenage daughter. The most probable method is that you stuffed a plastic bag into your daughter’s mouth and suffocated her. You did this because having settled in this country, having been sheltered and protected by its laws, and allowed to prosper by whatever means, your daughter displayed some indications that she might like to avail herself of the still prevailing freedoms this country offered, and not be treated as a mere pawn to be married off to the man of your choice, like a mare sent to stud. I wonder what other values of this country you would like to trample down.
But worry not on my rhetorical question. Now, your family’s honour can truly be said to be upheld! Bravo! How you ancestors must have sung your praises as you bundled her body into a car and unceremoniously dumped it to be left on a riverbank to rot, miles from anywhere. And then threatened your other children into silence – for a while.
One always has to be careful about opining on guilt or innocence, even after a trial, because in most cases if you are not actually there, the second hand reports that you get can be misleading. However, I have followed this one closely, and I shall be frank that if I had been called up for jury service I would have had to disqualify myself, because I had a view on the correct verdict before the case started. It was all too clear what had gone on at the hands of these disgusting people.
I can’t decide which of these two hateful, vile, cruel and utterly repellent individuals I despise and loath the most. The father? In my experience fathers often have a closer connection with their daughters than the mothers do. Doubtless he would have exerted the most physical force as his daughter retched and convulsed her way into the blue yonder. What a nasty, cruel, brutal and evil man.
But no, I hope there is a special piece of eternal damnation and hell fire booked for the mother. It is not just the complicity of a mother in the vicious murder of her own child. It is not just the plotting to cover up. No, it is the cowardly attempt to save her own skin and blame it all on her husband (via the court appointed interpreter, naturally, that makes you seem all the more vulnerable and put upon) that really finishes it off as a true pièce de résistance.
And this comes the day after Shabir Ahmed, the man previously jailed for 19 years as the leader of a ring of Asian “gentlemen” who organised the serial sexual abusing young girls in May, was given an extra term of 30 years for over 30 counts of rape of an Asian girl whom he treated as his “possession” for personal gratification.
And on the other side of the coin we have the parents of Indian student Anuj Bidve, a model student who came to this country to study electronics. He was a gifted student, who already had a degree. I understand he was working on developing a computer chip that helped monitor heart rates.
His killer, Kiaran (and yes, his parents couldn’t even spell his name his correctly) Stapleton, an utterly pointless product of the moral vacuum which has spawned our delightful under-classes, shot him in the head with a 9mm pistol for a lark, and has yet to show any remorse. In fact he seems very pleased with himself. He was jailed for a minimum of 30 years at tax payers’ expense last week.
There are times when I wish I could change my views on capital punishment, and this is one of them.
The parents of the verminous Stapleton stayed away from the trial. The poor parents of the innocent Bidve did not. Grief stricken but brave, they attended in the presence , of the excuse for a human being who had cut short the life of a fine young man full of potential, and lodged a victim impact statement. He was their only son. They had misgivings about sending him abroad, but had borrowed for them the colossal sum of £25,000 to help him fulfil his dream. They were utterly distraught, but the father still wants to meet his sons killer, to try to understand,
I suspect that there is no point. One can no more “understand” a killer like Stapleton than one can “understand” a rabid dog. In fact, probably less so, because you could diagnose the dog, and feel sorry for what the disease was doing to it, whereas Stapleton is merely a gap in proper working of the Universe which is worthless of any attention whatsoever.
Nevertheless, there is a family with honour.
Gildas the Monk