Dad and two relatives face murder trial after Sara Sharif found dead in bunk bed

Left to right: Beinash Batool, (stepmother), Faisal Malik, (uncle) and Urfan Sharif, (father) appearing in the dock <i>(Image: PA/Elizabeth Cook)</i>
Left to right: Beinash Batool, (stepmother), Faisal Malik, (uncle) and Urfan Sharif, (father) appearing in the dock (Image: PA/Elizabeth Cook)

The dad of 10-year-old Sara Sharif, who was found dead in a bunk bed, will face a trial accused of murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

Sara’s dad Urfan Sharif, her stepmum Beinash Batool and her uncle Faisal Malik all appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday (September 19) having returned from Pakistan last week.

Sharif, 41, Batool, 29, and Malik, 28, all appeared via video link from custody and spoke only to confirm their identities and dates of birth.

During the hearing prosecutor Giles Bedloe was told that post-mortem investigations are continuing to establish how Sara died.

Police had launched an investigation after Sara’s lifeless body was found under a blanket in a bunk bed at her home in Woking, Surrey, on August 10.

The day before, the three defendants left the UK for Pakistan with five children.

Last Wednesday, the trio, of Hammond Road in Woking, returned to the UK and were arrested on landing at Gatwick Airport.

At a previous magistrates’ court hearing, the prosecution had outlined the events leading to the charges.

Police had been alerted in a call from Pakistan, which lasted eight minutes and 34 seconds, at 2.47am on August 10.

The defendants’ flight to Pakistan had been booked two days before, on August 8, the court was told.

Officers arrived at the property and found the young girl lying face up and fully clothed under a blanket in a bunk bed in an upstairs room.

She was identified using the DNA of her mother, Olga Sharif, who lives in Somerset, and another relative, the court was told previously.

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

The court heard that her cause of death remains to be established, but she had “healed fractures” and injuries that “clearly demonstrate” she had been subjected to “multiple events of violence”.

The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft KC, set a plea hearing for December 1 and a six-week trial at the Old Bailey from September 2 2024 during the defendants’ brief first Crown Court hearing.

The male defendants were at Belmarsh high security prison in south London and Batool was at Bronzefield jail in Surrey.

They were all remanded into custody until their next hearing.