Surrey Police probing Sara Sharif’s death search two UK homes – after 10-year-old’s grandfather pleaded with her fugitive father to turn himself
- International manhunt has seen at least 20 properties searched in Pakistan
- Sara Sharif’s grandfather called on his son to ‘tell the truth’ and ‘face the law’
Police have searched two addresses in the UK as they continue to investigate the death of 10-year-old Sara Sharif, who was found dead at her home in Surrey four weeks ago.
Meanwhile authorities in Pakistan have also raided 20 properties there, with an international manhunt underway to find Sara’s fugitive father, stepmother and uncle.
Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, and stepmother, Beinash Batool, are believed to have travelled to Pakistan the day before her body was found at the family home in Woking on August 10.
The family’s previous address in Eden Grove Road, Byfleet, is being searched by police, as well as their most recent home address in Hammond Road, Horsell. Searches of the properties are expected to continue into next week and they will remain cordoned off.
Muhammad Sharif, who is Mr Sharif’s father, called on his son to ‘tell [the police] the truth about what occurred’, after a postmortem examination revealed his granddaughter Sara Sharif suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’.
The grandfather’s message comes after Sara Sharif’s family broke their silence in a remarkable video, which saw the young girl’s stepmother, Ms Batool, describe Sara’s death as ‘an incident’ – without offering any further details.
The video shows Ms Batool explain the family have ‘gone into hiding’ as she denied claims that Sara ‘fell down the stairs and broke her neck’ and said the family are willing to fight their case in court.
In a video, Sara Sharif’s grandfather is shown saying: ‘Yes, they (Urfan Sharif and his wife Beinash Batool) should cooperate with the police and face the law, the law is everything and life without law is difficult.
‘My advice to them, is to face the law, they should present themselves to the police and tell them the truth about what occurred.’
‘If they release a video message, it would be good. And if they have more details they need to share (them) with the police. Sharing the truth is their fundamental right, it is not possible to hide things. The more they details they share, the better for them.’
‘No, he (Urfan) did not share any details with me, only that and incident occurred, that’s it,’ Muhammad Sharif said.
The grandfather’s message comes after it emerged police raided 20 properties in their hunt for Sara’s family.
The raids are understood to have been concentrated in the Pakistani cities of Mirpur and Jhelum, Sky News reported.
The police raids follow the release of a video yesterday in which Mr Sharif and Ms Batool said they are willing to co-operate with British police and fight their case in court.
The couple yesterday broke their silence for the first time following the discovery of 10-year-old Sara’s body at a house in Woking, Surrey, as they described the young girl’s death as ‘an incident’ – without offering further details.
A post-mortem examination concluding she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’ over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time.
Ms Batool says in the video: ‘Firstly I would like to talk about Sara. Sara’s death was an incident. Our family in Pakistan is severely affected by all that is going on.
‘All the media have been given wrong statements…Imran [one of Mr Sharif’s brothers] did not give a statement that Sara fell down the stairs and broke her neck. This was spread through a Pakistani media outlet.
‘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 are 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 of safety. That is why we have gone into hiding.
‘Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court.’ Sara’s father, Mr Sharif, does not speak in the video.
Sara’s mother Olga Sharif also spoke to the Polish television programme Uwaga! on the TVN Channel.
She claimed that Ms Batool tried to stop her seeing her two children, one of whom is believed to be in Pakistan.
‘Their stepmother wrote to me not to come anymore because the children did not want to see me,’ she said.
‘It’s not normal that once the children were happy, and arguing about who would talk to Mum first, and then the kids don’t even want to talk to me on the phone and are calling me the worst names.’
Sara’s mother, Ms Sharif, also spoke in the interview of having to identify her daughter’s body at the mortuary, saying she hardly recognised her because of her injuries.
‘One of her cheeks was swollen and the other side was bruised,’ the young girl’s mother said. ‘Even now, when I close my eyes I can see what my baby looked like.’
Ms Sharif said 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 harder over time.
Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: ‘We are working hard to progress the investigation into Sara’s murder and a key part of this is piecing together information about her life from anyone who knew her or her family.
‘We are grateful to everyone who has come forward with information, and I would like to stress that any information, no matter how insignificant it might seem, could be of use in developing our understanding of her lifestyle.
‘Every single piece of information that we receive is reviewed by the investigation team and further enquiries carried out if appropriate. I would urge anyone who may have information and hasn’t yet come forward to reach out to us.
‘There are a number of ways you can do this – you can report information via our portal, which is in both English and Urdu, you can call 101 if you would prefer to speak on the phone, or if you would like to remain anonymous, call the independent charity Crimestoppers.’
Mr Sharif, 41, Ms Batool, 29, and his brother, Faisal Malik, 28, are thought to have travelled to Islamabad on August 9 and are wanted by police for questioning.
They travelled with five children aged between one and 13 years old, Surrey Police said – the eldest of which is Ms Sharif’s son.
Sara’s uncle said last month that his niece had fallen down the stairs and broken her neck – claims that were dismissed by Ms Batool today.
Imran Sharif is said to be assisting the hunt for his brother, Sara’s father, after it was reported police in Pakistan are under ‘tremendous pressure’ from the British High Commission to find him.
He allegedly told officers: ‘Beinash was home with the children. Sara fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Beinash panicked and phoned Urfan.’
Imran denied knowing where Urfan and his family were, police in the city of Jhelum in Pakistan’s Punjab province said.
He reportedly told officers: ‘I found out what happened to Sara through the international media. My parents told me Urfan briefly came home very upset. He kept saying they are going to take his children away from him.’
Police said they have detained Mr Sharif’s brother because they are ‘convinced’ that he knows where the family is hiding.
It has also been claimed that Mr Sharif’s parents along with other relatives, who live in a large house in Jhelum, have also now gone into hiding.
Ms Batool’s family home in Mirpur has also been searched, but with no sign of the family.
A police source said: ‘We spoke to Imran and some of the family members last week and they insisted that they did not know where Urfan and his family are.
‘But we don’t believe them, there’s absolutely no way that they can’t know where eight of their relatives who have come from England are. They are telling us a pack of lies.’
They added: ‘We managed to get hold of Imran, but the rest of his family have gone missing. They clearly have something to hide. We have got hold of one of them and will be interrogating him until he tells us the truth.’
Meanwhile, Sara’s grandfather previously told the BBC that her death was an ‘accident’ and three family members who left the UK for Pakistan will ‘ultimately’ return to face police questioning.
Muhammad Sharif said he saw his son Urfan Sharif, Sara’s father, soon after he arrived in the city of Jhelum, in the South Asian country, and said he had fled the UK out of ‘fear’.
Surrey Police are appealing for information to help them piece together a picture of Sara’s lifestyle prior to her death. Surrey County Council previously said that Sara was known to the local authority.
Authorities in Pakistan are searching for the trio and lawyers in the UK have said the nation’s government is unlikely to block an extradition request in connection to Sara’s death.
There is no formal extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan but people have been returned from the country before.
It comes as Sara’s grandfather said this week that his son, the girl’s father, had told him the death was an ‘accident’ and that he left the UK out of fear.
Muhammad Sharif told BBC News: ‘His daughter died and when you go under so much trauma, obviously you can’t think properly.’
He said he saw Urfan after he arrived in Pakistan, adding: ‘It was an accident, he didn’t tell me how it happened.
‘All I can say is that they should have faced the case, they should have stayed there and faced it instead (of coming to Pakistan). They will ultimately go back to the UK and face their case.’
It also emerged over the weekend that Urfan contacted a friend who owned a money transfer shop to get eight last-minute plane tickets before he and his family left the country.
The 41-year-old told Nadeem Riaz on August 8 he urgently needed the one way tickets due to the death of a cousin and wanted to fly out to Islamabad as soon as possible.
The next day Sharif, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother Faisal Malik, 28, left the UK on a British Airways flight with five of the couple’s children, aged between one and 13.
After arriving in Pakistan, Sharif phoned 999 and informed police they would find the body of his oldest daughter at their address in Horsell.
She was discovered with ‘multiple and extensive’ injuries which are believed to have occurred over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time.
Mr Riaz told the Times he had often had business with Sharif before, who would frequently end money to one of his brothers, Imran, in Pakistan.
His shop doubled as a travel agency, and he had previously secured flights for the family after the death of Sharif’s mother last November.
He said: ‘[Sharif] sounded normal. No different to his usual self.’
After the call, Mr Riaz sent a message to Sharif and asked him what kind of tickets he wanted. Sharif is said to have responded: ‘One way.’
The shop owner, who has known Sharif for 11 years, is said to be assisting police with their enquiries into Sara’s death.
He told the paper: ‘For the first few days after it happened, every time I looked at my own daughter I felt so sad for Sara.
‘I love my daughter [who is six] so much. How could anyone leave their daughter?’
The international manhunt for the family is still underway, as Pakistan police this week claimed they were not asked to look for the relatives until five days after her body was discovered.
Sara’s family were known to both the police and local council, it was revealed at the weekend.
But police have not referred themselves to the IOPC, saying their knowledge of the family was ‘historic’ and that the case did not meet the threshold to do so.
Surrey County Council has said they are ‘working tirelessly’ to fully understand the consequences that led to Sara’s death – and have now revealed the girl was known to them before her death.
A spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm Sara Sharif was known to Surrey County Council but we cannot comment further while the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership’s thorough review process is ongoing.’
On Friday council leader Tim Oliver said: ‘This is an incredibly sad situation and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with everyone affected.’
He said the national Child Safeguarding panel has been notified of the death and a multi-agency rapid review is under way, in line with standard process following the death of a child.
He explained: ‘This rapid review will determine whether a local child safeguarding practice review (LCSPR) is to be undertaken by the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership.
‘An LCSPR is a statutory process, bringing together partners including the police, health, social care and education to review practice of all agencies involved, organisational structures and learning.’
The full interview with Ms Sharif will air on the Polish TV programme at 7.55pm local time on Wednesday.