The father of ten-year-old Sara Sharif, whose body was found at her home in Woking last month, have appeared in court today after being arrested on suspicion of her murder.
Urfan Sharif, 41, along with his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and brother Faisal Malik, 28 were each charged with murder as well as causing or allowing the death of a child, the Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday.
The defendants arrived at Guilford Magistrates Court today after spending a month in Pakistan before deciding to return to the UK.
They appeared in the dock this morning flanked by a dock officer each. Sharif was wearing a grey prison issue tracksuit, Malik wore a red t-shirt and blue jeans and Batool was dressed in black.
Sara’s body was discovered at her Woking home on August 10 with post-mortem tests showing she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’ over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time.
Three people have been charged with the murder of ten-year-old Sara Sharif, whose body was found at her home address in Woking on 10 August
The defendants, who only spoke to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses, did not enter any pleas. They all gave their address as Woking.
An Urdu translator translated the proceedings to both men, as Batool, wearing a black jumper, eagerly watched the hearing unfold.
The charges were read out to them as the murder on or about August 8 at Woking of Sara Sharif. They were charged with causing or allowing the death of a child between December 16 2022 and August 9 2023.
The charges state they each caused or were aware of a ‘significant risk of serious physical harm being caused’ to Sara, and that they ‘failed to take full steps as could have reasonably been expected to protect her from that risk’.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram remanded the defendants, from Hammond Road in Woking, into custody before they appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
A day before the girl’s body was found, Sharif, Batool, and Malik flew to Pakistan with five children – aged between one and 13 years old. The trio had not been seen in a month.
Amanda Burrows, prosecuting, told the court the three adults flew to Islamabad on August 9 along with five children.
She said Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, had called authorities in the UK 52 minutes after their flight arrived in the Pakistani capital.
Olga Sharif (seen middle, supported by two companions) visited the £550,000 red-brick home in Horsell, near Woking, to lay a floral tribute in memory of her daughter
Sara, who suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’, pictured playing in a garden
Mrs Sharif, left, described her daughter as an ‘amazing child’
No application for bail was made on behalf of any of the defendants, and Judge Ikram sent the case to the Central Criminal Court.
He told them: ‘You will remain in custody until September 9. You will appear then at the Central Criminal Court in London.
‘You will be entitled then to make any bail application, if you so wish. The reason I am keeping you in custody is, this is a case of murder. Please go with the officers. Thank you.’
The trio flew back on Wednesday on an Emirates A380 Airbus from Dubai and landed on the runway at London Gatwick just after 7.30pm – where they were arrested by Surrey Police.
The group sat in the plane’s upper deck, filled with padded, fully-reclining seats as they made their journey back to Britain.
The cabin had a touchscreen entertainment system with 6,500 channels on HD television.
In the rear of the cabin, the trio had access to an ‘onboard lounge’ containing a cocktail bar and 55-inch television screen.
Relative Safeer Malik, in his mid-30s, booked the tickets four days prior to the flight on Saturday, reported The Daily Telegraph.
‘He offered [to] pay in sterling but I said we only deal in Pakistani rupees so after half an hour he came with 1,500,000 RS (£4,000) and I booked the tickets,’ he said.
He told Burhan Ali, from Bin Adam Travels, he wanted three tickets for his brothers and sister-in-law.
According to their lawyers, the trio had decided to return to the UK to give their accounts to the police after hiding in Pakistan, after spending £500 each on one-way tickets to the country in August.
Sara’s mother, Olga Sharif, has been informed of this latest development and is being supported by specialist officers.
She visited the £550,000 red-brick home in the village of Horsell five days after her daughter’s death to lay flowers in her memory.
The 36-year-old said her ‘life will never be the same again’ and described Sara as being ‘happy and always laughing’.
‘Sara was an amazing child,’ Mrs Sharif told The Sun.
‘There is nothing I can do that can bring her back to life, so I have to only remember the good times with her now. Life is really hard. It’s just not fair.’
The young girl was previously a pupil a St Mary’s Church of England primary school in Byfleet.
The school’s headteacher Jacquie Chambers said the Year 5 pupil had ‘the most beautiful smile’.
In a statement, she said: ‘[Sara] was a bubbly, confident little girl who had the most beautiful smile. She was full of ideas and was very passionate about the things she believed in.’
Ms Chambers added: ‘Sara will be dearly missed and, as a school community, we are all deeply affected by this tragedy.
‘Our thoughts, prayers and sympathy are with those affected by this heartbreaking news.’
Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, previously said: ‘Firstly, on behalf of Surrey Police, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences following Sara’s tragic death.
‘Our thoughts are with her mother at this difficult time. We also fully appreciate the impact this devastating incident will have had within the local community.’
Surrey Police issued a statement, saying: ‘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.’