Sara Sharif’s fugitive father, stepmother and uncle arrested on suspicion of murder after return to Britain

13 September 2023, 20:22 | Updated: 13 September 2023, 21:42

Three people have been arrested at Gatwick airport
Three people have been arrested at Gatwick airport. Picture: Alamy/Handout

By Emma Soteriou

Sara Sharif’s fugitive father, stepmother and uncle have been arrested on suspicion of murder after returning to the UK.

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Police were searching for the three relatives - her father Urfan Sharif, his partner, Beinash Batool, and brother Faisal Malikafter - after they fled to Pakistan following Sara's death.

The family lawyer, Raja Haq Nawaz, said they boarded an Emirates flight from Sialkot to Dubai before transferring to another flight to Gatwick.

They landed on Wednesday evening and were arrested at around 7.45pm.

Surrey Police detective superintendent Mark Chapman said three people were arrested after disembarking from the flight.

"This evening, around 7.45pm, three people were arrested in connection with this investigation at Gatwick Airport," he said.

"Two men, aged 41 years and 28 years, and a woman, aged 29 years, were arrested on suspicion of murder after disembarking a flight from Dubai. They are currently in custody and will be interviewed in due course.

"Sara's mother has been informed of this latest update and is being supported by specialist officers. Our thoughts remain with her and those affected by Sara's death at this very difficult time.

"This has been an extremely fast-moving, challenging and complex enquiry and we remain absolutely committed to conducting a thorough investigation into Sara's death.

"We will not be commenting any further at this point and will provide further updates as and when we are able to."

The trio voluntarily left Pakistan after police failed to arrest them, according to MailOnline.

A spokesman for Jhelum Police, Mudassar Khan, also confirmed that they were returning to the UK but no further details were given.

Read more: Five children who travelled from UK to Pakistan with Sara Sharif's dad returned to grandfather after police raid

Read more: Police in Pakistan detain 10 close relatives of Sara Sharif in bid to draw out father

Sara Shariff: Urfan Sharif and Beinash Batool say they are willing to cooperate with UK authorities

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

Her cause of death is "not yet ascertained" but is likely to be "unnatural", an inquest opening into her death at Surrey Coroner's Court previously heard.

Sara's father and stepmother shared a public statement last week, saying they were "willing to cooperate with the UK authorities".

Ms Batool described Sara's death as an "incident", saying: "Firstly, I would like to talk about Sara. Sara's death was an incident. Our family in Pakistan are severely affected by all that is going on."

She continued: "All of our family members have gone into hiding as everyone is scared for their safety.

"The kids are unable to attend school as they're afraid to leave the house. No one is leaving the house.

"The groceries have run out and there is no food for the kids as the adults are unable to leave their homes out of fear for safety."

She ended saying: "Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court."

Sara Sharif
Sara Sharif. Picture: Sussex Police

It comes after five children who travelled to Pakistan with Sara's father were removed from their grandfather's home by police in Pakistan. Officers raided the house in the hunt for the trio

Surrey Police said they are now working to secure their safe return to the UK.

The force said it had been working with Surrey County Council and international authorities after a Pakistani court ruled the children would be temporarily moved to a government childcare facility on Tuesday.

It is unclear where the children will ultimately be sent or for how long they may be kept in the facility.

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