Pregnant wife pushed off Arthur’s Seat was ‘scared of heights’

A pregnant woman allegedly pushed off a cliff by her husband was scared of heights, a court heard today. Kashif Anwar, 29, is accused of murdering Fawziyah Javed, 31, in September 2021 by pushing her off Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. The fall caused her multiple blunt-force injuries and ultimately led to her death and that of her unborn child.

Mr Anwar denies all the charges against him, including one of acting in a threatening and abusive way towards his wife at a hotel in Edinburgh the day before the alleged murder.

Lubna Qasim, who gave evidence on the third day of the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, said she was told by her friend Ms Javed that Mr Anwar was “really keen on visiting Arthur’s Seat” when they were talking at a Walima – a Muslim marriage celebration event – held for the couple on August 30, 2021.

Ms Qasim, 33, said Ms Javed, who was from Pudsey in Leeds, had looked her straight in the eyes and replied: “I’m not so sure.”

She told the court her friend was scared of heights and this fear came to her attention when they visited Barcelona’s cable car together.

Describing Ms Javed as “caring, generous and kind”, Ms Qasim said at the Walima Ms Javed’s mother, Nighat Yasmin Javed, had seemed “anxious and nervous and stressed”.

Ian Duguid KC, for Mr Anwar, told the court a relative of his client had mentioned the landmark to him as a place to visit while in Edinburgh.

He said Ms Javed was keen on walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Ms Qasim said she thought Ms Javed was more interested in things like shopping than walking.

Jurors also heard Ms Javed had called the police about Mr Anwar’s alleged behaviour, and when officers from West Yorkshire Police attended her parents’ home she gave a statement in which she detailed her claims of abuse at the hands of her husband.

PC Gemma Smales, 34, read out the statement from Ms Javed. Towards its end, she said: “I maybe his wife but I’m not his possession.”

The document, dated April 20 2021, included claims he threatened to physically hurt Ms Javed’s family members if she ever cheated on him; of how Ms Javed said she found herself unconscious in a Pudsey graveyard; an allegation she was slapped across the face by her husband during an argument and claims of abusive language Mr Anwar is said to have used towards Ms Javed.

They included him allegedly calling Ms Javed a “retard” and a “bitch”; telling her to “stop behaving like a British woman”; that he would pull her mother’s “tongue out if she says I need help” and that he would ruin Ms Javed’s life if she ended the relationship.

The court was told Mr Anwar, who was studying optometry at the University of Bradford, met Ms Javed after a chance encounter at the Trinity shopping complex in Leeds city centre.

The High Court heard on Thursday that a midwife spoke to Ms Javed after Mr Anwar was overheard speaking to her at Leeds General Infirmary on August 23, 2021.

Elizabeth Petty, 41, who was working on the L44 ward that evening, said a patient told her Ms Javed was told: “If you died during childbirth that would be okay. I would be free.”

The midwife told the jury that when asked if that was what had been said, Ms Javed confirmed it was, adding she appeared “scared” and “upset”.

Teacher Francesca Cooper, 34, was in the bed neighbouring Ms Javed’s and had reported the conversation.

She sobbed as she told advocate depute Alex Prentice KC what she had heard, saying: “I could hear him repeatedly call her a bitch, repeatedly saying he should never have married her, wishing he never married her, and if one of them died during childbirth that would be good because they would be free from one another.”

Ms Javed’s mother also took to the witness box on Thursday.

She said her concerns had been heightened since the couple married in December 2020. Mrs Javed told the court she was “very worried” about her daughter.

She said: “I said, if you feel that you are in danger, just text me ‘I feel like cream cakes’, and I will contact the police.”

Mrs Javed said she did this because of the “abuse, the violence, the aggression, and coercive control” in the relationship, which included, she said, Mr Anwar taking £12,000 from her daughter’s bank account while she was sleeping.

She said her daughter’s calls and texts were monitored by Mr Anwar and that between three or four months after the wedding her daughter wanted out of the marriage.

Mrs Javed told the jury: “The accused was being abusive, controlling, manipulative, aggressive and violent towards her. She didn’t want to stay in a marriage like that. She wanted to leave.”

The court was played a recording of Mr Anwar’s wife, who worked as an employment lawyer, phoning a legal firm for advice on getting a divorce.

Mrs Javed told the court when the couple were due to return from Edinburgh, she was to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with her, which was that same day, but said she would not return home and instead contact West Yorkshire Police to get her belongings back.

Mr Duguid asked Mrs Javed about the rules of an Islamic divorce and if a pregnant woman could get one.

She said while she did not know much about it, her daughter’s intention was to “get the ball rolling”.

Mr Duguid also told the court of the couple’s trip to Loch Ness and that they had booked afternoon tea at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh for September 3. He said when they returned to Yorkshire the day after, they would all have gone for a birthday meal.

But Mrs Javed said it was never their intention to go to that meal and they had planned to dine separately from Mr Anwar.

Mr Duguid put it to her the trip had been an attempt to discuss differences in their relationship and resolve them, but Mrs Javid told him it was not. She said her daughter was “putting on a front to do what she had to do to leave the accused”.

The trial also heard from James Duncan, 25, who was walking up Arthur’s Seat with his girlfriend on the evening of September 2 when Ms Javed was found.

He told the court: “There were a couple of screams to my recollection. One was from a female screaming, then I heard a male screaming after I heard the female scream.”

He said soon afterwards, he saw Mr Anwar with another woman who were looking for a charged mobile phone to call emergency services.

Mr Duncan said: “The gentleman said his wife had fallen off the summit and wanted me to call 999 to get in touch with ambulance or police or emergency services to get them to help with the situation.”

In the first 999 call, operators were told she could be heard screaming after the fall. The court heard that in a second call, the accused told the ambulance service that they both fell.

In cross-examination, Mr Duncan, who told the court he had scaled the hill more than 100 times, said Mr Anwar was wearing ordinary shoes and not hiking boots.

The trial, before Lord Beckett, continues.

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