Police in Pakistan hunting for the father of Sara Sharif have said they are “close to locating suspects” after the British youngster’s unexplained death.
The 10-year-old’s body was found in her Woking home in the early hours of August 10, with Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif 41, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, his brother Faisal Malik, 28, believed to have travelled to Pakistan hours earlier together with five other children.
So far, Pakistani police have drawn a blank in their attempts to trace the trio – but Rawalpindi Region police chief Khurram Ali said the net was tightening.
He told The Mirror he and his officers were “close to locating them”, and have already interrogated Urfan Sharif’s father, brother and uncle”, whom he described as the “prime suspect”.
He added: ”It’s a matter of great concern for our police as a child was brutally killed and it is painful for all of us.”
Nevertheless, police are not permitted to detain Urfan Sharif’s relatives after a court ruled such a move would be unlawful.
Back in the UK, it has emerged that a handwritten note found by officers named the person responsible for Sara’s death.
The message, written in large letters, said: “Who ever sees this, it was [name] who killed [Sara] by beating.
“I am running away because I am scared.”
The claims contradicted those by days earlier in Pakistan by Sara’s uncle, who said his niece “fell down the stairs and broke her neck”.
A post mortem examination held last week was unable to determine cause of death – but revealed Sara had suffered “multiple and extensive injuries which were likely inflicted “over a period of time”.
After the youngster’s body was found earlier this month, a classmate at St Mary’s School in Byfleet told her mother Sara had been covered in cuts and bruises in April.
The mum, identified only as Jessica, said: “My daughter had asked what had happened and she said she’d fallen off a bike and then kind of walked away.
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“The next day the teacher announced she had left school and she was being home-schooled.”
Sara and her family then moved to the village of Horsell, near Woking, about three miles away.
Sara was also known to social services, with Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, saying last week: “We can confirm that, in line with standard process following the death of a child, the National Child Safeguarding Panel has been notified of the death and a multi-agency Rapid Review is underway.”
In a fresh appeal yesterday two weeks after Sarah’s death, Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: “We would like to thank those people who have already come forward and reported information to us.”
“However, we know that there will be lots of people in the Woking community and beyond who will have had contact with Sara who may not already have come forward, and we would encourage them to do so.
“Any information is better than no information – although you might think it’s insignificant, it might be vital to the investigation and in helping us to bring justice for Sara.”
Anyone with information is being asked to report this online via the Major Incident Public Portal here
Alternatively, they can report information by calling 101, quoting Operation Unison or using independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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