Family ‘Force-Fed’ Bride Pills that left her in Vegetative State

A family “force-fed” a bride pills that left her in a vegetative state because she “failed to meet their expectations”.

Family 'Force-Fed' Bride Pills that left her in Vegetative State f

"I love my wife so much why would I hurt her?"

Family members were convicted of the abuse of an arranged marriage bride flown from Pakistan who has been in a persistent vegetative state for eight years.

There is evidence she was “force-fed” pills and burned with a chemical substance because she “didn’t meet their expectations”.

Ambreen Fatima Sheikh can breathe unaided but has suffered “irretrievable” brain damage that has left her with no consciousness of her surroundings.

The exact nature of the abuse remains uncertain because none of the family gave evidence in their defence.

Ambreen came to the UK in November 2014 after marrying Asgar in 2013 in an arranged marriage in Pakistan.

Before coming to the UK, Ambreen was a well-educated “happy-go-lucky” young woman.

However, she spoke little English and after moving to Huddersfield, she rarely left the house.

Neighbours did not even know she was living there for nine months.

Leeds Crown Court heard the probable explanation for Ambreen’s condition was that she had unwillingly swallowed tablets prescribed to her diabetic mother-in-law which resulted in a hypoglycaemic attack.

Such tablets are very dangerous if taken by non-diabetics.

Prosecutors said the tablets were not taken voluntarily and by then, Ambreen had suffered a “pattern of violence” at the home she shared with her husband, parents-in-law and brother and sister-in-law.

A large black wound on her lower back was believed to have been caused by a chemical substance in the days before Ambreen was rushed to hospital.

The chemical is also likely to have caused an injury to her ear.

Police were alerted when hospital doctors feared Ambreen’s injuries could be suspicious. Nurses were also concerned she was “malnourished” and “unkempt”.

Ambreen was initially put on life support and police believed they could soon be dealing with a murder inquiry.

When the ventilator was switched off, Ambreen could breathe but has remained in a vegetative state since August 2015.

Police questioned the five family members but no one explained what happened.

Asgar told officers: “I love my wife so much why would I hurt her?”

Asgar, along with his father Khalid Sheikh, mother Shabnam Sheikh, sister Shagufa Sheikh and brother Sakalayne went on trial over the bride’s abuse and subsequent cover-up.

Asgar, Khalid, Shabnam and Shagufa were found guilty of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm.

Sakalyne was not found guilty of this offence.

All five defendants were convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Asgar, Shagufa and Shabnam were also found guilty of doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

When questioned by police at the time, Sakalyne, then 16, said:

“We don’t really talk to any other people. We keep ourselves to ourselves.”

The court heard the bride “didn’t meet expectations” and fit in with her husband’s family.

One relative said the Sheikh family complained Ambreen was “smelly” and did not cook and clean for her husband.

The couple allegedly “had a fight” that led to Ambreen sleeping in another room.

There was also an incident three weeks before Ambreen was taken to hospital.

A relative tried to phone Ambreen and asked her daughter in Yorkshire to check on her.

When she and a man knocked on the door, Shabnam would not let them see Ambreen and an “angry” Asgar allegedly said:

“I will kill you if I see you again.”

The incident was reported to police and the next day, officers checked on Ambreen. There were no signs of distress, neglect or harm.

But at 1 am on August 1, 2015, the family called an ambulance, saying Ambreen was suddenly unresponsive.

She never regained consciousness and there was evidence the family’s account to paramedics was a lie.

According to experts, Ambreen is likely to have fallen unconscious up to 48 hours earlier and suffered a brain injury when her airway became blocked.

Ambreen had been vomiting but paramedics found her in clean clothes after being moved to another bedroom.

Her soiled clothing and bedding had been dumped in a bin outside and under a tarpaulin downstairs.

Experts concluded that although Ambreen was not diabetic, her condition was the result of hypoglycaemia – a low level of blood sugar that can cause brain damage.

There was no evidence to suggest how it happened but prosecution experts concluded that Ambreen ingesting one or two tablets of her mother-in-law’s prescribed glimepiride medication was the likely explanation.

The five defendants will be sentenced at a later date.

Asgar, Khalid and Shabnam were remanded in custody while the other two defendants were given conditional bail.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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