The father of 10-year-old Sara Sharif and two other relatives will face trial over her death next autumn. On Tuesday, Urfan Sharif, Sara’s stepmother Beinash Batool and uncle Faisal Malik appeared at the Old Bailey having returned from Pakistan to face charges last week.
All three, who appeared by video link from custody, are charged with murdering Sara and causing or allowing the death of a child. Prosecutor Giles Bedloe was told that post-mortem investigations are continuing to establish how Sara died.
The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft KC, set a plea hearing for December 1 and a six-week trial at the Old Bailey from September 2 2024 during the defendants’ brief first Crown Court hearing.
Sharif, 41, Batool, 29, and Malik, 28, spoke only to confirm their identities and dates of birth.
The male defendants were at Belmarsh high security prison in south London and Batool was at Bronzefield jail in Surrey.
They were all remanded into custody until their next hearing.
Police had launched an investigation after Sara’s lifeless body was found under a blanket in a bunk bed at her home in Woking, Surrey, on August 10.
The day before, the three defendants left the UK for Pakistan with five children.
Last Wednesday, the trio, of Hammond Road in Woking, returned to the UK and were arrested on landing at Gatwick Airport.
At a previous magistrates’ court hearing, the prosecution had outlined the events leading to the charges.
Police had been alerted in 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 before, on August 8, the court was told.
Officers arrived at the property 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, the court was told previously.
A post-mortem examination later found the youngster had suffered “multiple and extensive injuries” over a “sustained and extended” period of time.
The court heard that her cause of death remains to be established, but she had “healed fractures” and injuries that “clearly demonstrate” she had been subjected to “multiple events of violence”. It is alleged that Sara died as a result of third-party involvement.
Don't miss out on the latest crime stories from across London. Sign up to MyLondon's Court & Crime newsletter HERE .2023-09-19T10:30:07Z dg43tfdfdgfd