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Sara Sharif’s stepmother says family ‘willing to cooperate’ with UK authorities

The father and stepmother of Sara Sharif have said they are “willing to cooperate with the UK authorities”, in their first public statement since the 10-year-old’s death.

Sara’s body was found at a property in Hammond Road, Woking, after police were called from Pakistan by her father Urfan Sharif on August 10.

She was living with Mr Sharif and his partner Beinash Batool when she died.

Ms Batool, 29, Mr Sharif, 41, and his brother, Faisal Malik, 28, are thought to have travelled to Pakistani capital Islamabad on August 9 and are wanted by police in the UK for questioning.

A grainy video clip appearing to show Mr Sharif and Ms Batool was released on Wednesday.

Mr Sharif stays silent throughout the footage, which lasts less than 50 seconds.

Sara Sharif was found dead in Woking on August 10 (PA Media)
Sara Sharif was found dead in Woking on August 10 (PA Media)

Ms Batool reads a prepared statement from a lined notepad, only briefly mentioning Sara, whose death she describes as “an incident”.

She says: “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 goes on to accuse the media of “giving wrong statements and making up lies”.

“All our family members have gone into hiding as everyone is scared for their safety,” she said.

“No-one is leaving the house. The groceries have run out and there is no food for the kids.”

She ends by saying: “Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court.”

Mr Sharif and Ms Batool are understood to have fled the country with five children aged between one and 13, Surrey Police said.

Sara’s grandfather previously told the BBC Sara’s death was an “accident” and three family members who left the UK for Pakistan will “ultimately” return to face police questioning.

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

Her mother, Olga Sharif, spoke of the grief she felt when she went to identify her daughter’s body in the mortuary,

Speaking on Polish television programme Uwaga!, she said: “One of her cheeks was swollen and the other side was bruised.

“Even now, when I close my eyes I can see what my baby looked like.”

Ms Sharif said in the interview she had separated from her husband in 2015 and Sara and her older brother had been living with her until 2019 when the family court ruled they should live with their father.

Ms Sharif still had equal rights to see the children and said while that was easy to maintain initially, it became increasingly harder over time.

Surrey Police are appealing for information to help them piece together a picture of Sara’s life.

Surrey County Council told the PA news agency she was known to the local authority.