A daughter has revealed how her family is still unable to properly come to terms with the horrific murder of her mum 10 years on.
Semina Mahmood said her family was torn apart by the death of Zainab Begum, who was killed in her home in 2004. Zainab’s son-in-law Mohammed Arshad was found guilty of her murder after a court h eard that her body was cut up and disposed of in an Accrington takeaway.
Another of her sons-inlaw, Mohammed Khan, was jailed for seven years for helping dispose of the body. Speaking after the tenth anniversary of her mother’s murder, Semina told the Observer that the family had struggled to rebuild their lives.
In particular, she is still deeply affected by the fact that the body of Zainab, who lived on Burnley Road in Accrington, was never found.
Semina added: “It’s hard not having a grave for her or anywhere I can go to visit her. I put flowers on my dad’s grave for both of them but it’s not the same. She deserves to have a real memorial.”
Semina, now 46, says her mother not being around to meet her two sons Sayaam, four, and Aryan, three, is incredibly hard while special occasions like her youngest sister's wedding recently were difficult without her mum.
She said: “I show them pictures and tell them it’s their grandma and I want to make sure they’re brought up to treat women equally. I want them to help out as much as I would expect girls to. That’s something I really believe in.”
And finding out Mohammed Khan had been released from prison struck a fresh blow.
She added: “My sister visited him in prison and tried to find out from him where my mum’s body was.”
Pakistan-born Mrs Begum was separated from her second husband and had moved to Accrington from Huddersfield. Arshad married one of her daughters in Pakistan in December 2001 and Khan married another. Semina, who lives on Queens Road West, says she has also found it difficult to trust men as a result of the murder and the ensuing trial in which Arshad said he had not murdered her and Khan denied being involved with disposing of her body.
Semina said: “My mum was really world wise, she always wanted us to get an education to learn to drive and to be independent and that’s had a big impact on my life.
“It’s just really unfortunate she was taken from us in that way.”
Semina works at Blackburn College and says her devastating experience has made her more determined to help young women and to tackle sensitive issues such as abusive relationships and child grooming.
She added: “I’ve encountered young Asian women who feel they can’t talk to their parents about divorce or the way they’re being treated.
“I don’t know if there are any lessons to be learned from what happened to my family. “I want women to be able to be open if something bad is happening to them. I’m also going to be working with police on child grooming problems and hopefully we will be going into schools to talk about that.
“Sometimes I feel like I could have done more after my mum was killed.
“I wanted to set up a trust fund in her honour but I feel like I have to do some good – I could have just been a recluse and hidden but I have to keep living and having a life.”