Sara Sharif’s runaway father, stepmother and uncle have been arrested on suspicion of murder after having landed at Gatwick Airport tonight.
Urfan Sharif, 41, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and brother Faisal Malik, 28, were arrested after disembarking a flight from Dubai and are currently in custody, Surrey Police said. They will be interviewed in due course.
Sharif and Batool went into hiding in Pakistan for a month after Sara’s body was found in her home and an international manhunt was launched there and in the UK.
A post-mortem examination found the youngster had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’ over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time.
Sara’s mother has been informed of the arrests and is being supported by specialist officers.
Sara Sharif (pictured) was found dead and alone in her family’s home near Woking, Surrey, on August 10
Sara’s father (left) and his partner Beinash Batool (right) released a video last week addressing the death and confirming they were in hiding
Surrey Police officers were expected to board the Emirates A380 Airbus as soon as it taxied to a halt after landing at Gatwick Airport at 7.28pm tonight
The three arrived at Gatwick airport at just after 7.30pm today on an Emirates A380 Airbus from Sialkot, in eastern Punjab province, via Dubai, before police swooped in and took them away for questioning in connection with Sara’s death.
The couple and Malik, according to their lawyers, had decided to come back to Britain and give their accounts to the police after having been in hiding in Pakistan for the past month.
Sara was found dead at her family home in Woking, Surrey, on 10 August – a day after the three adults left the UK.
The three adults left Britain with five other children aged between one and 13.
Surrey Police issued a statement this evening, saying: ‘Sara’s mother has been informed of this latest update and is being supported by specialist officers. Our thoughts remain with her and those affected by Sara’s death at this very difficult time.
‘This has been an extremely fast-moving, challenging and complex enquiry and we remain absolutely committed to conducting a thorough investigation into Sara’s death.’
Urfan Sharif and his partner Beinash Batool have both arrived back in the UK
Tributes outside the home of Sara Sharif, where the little girl’s body was found on August 10
Faisal Malik, brother of Urfan Sharif, has also arrived back in the UK
Sara’s body was found after Mr Sharif alerted police from an unknown location in Pakistan where he had gone into hiding.
This morning the trio boarded a flight from Pakistan travelling via Dubai and were due to arrive at Gatwick at 7.45pm, though their flight was half an hour early.
The Sharif’s family lawyer, Raja Haq Nawaz, told MailOnline earlier today the trio had boarded an Emirates flight from Pakistan’s eastern city of Sialkot.
He said they were not under arrest and had voluntarily left for the UK.
A spokesman for Jhelum Police, Mudassar Khan also confirmed all three had left for the UK.
The couple’s remaining children were taken into custody by police on Monday from their grandfather’s house and were later handed into the care of the government run Child Protection Bureau following a court hearing on Tuesday.
All five children have remained behind in Pakistan and are currently being cared for at the Bureau’s Lahore centre.
This week the Mail revealed how the family had launched a desperate legal bid to prevent them being extradited back to the UK.
They complained that their freedom of movement and travel have been infringed by the police investigation into Sara’s death.
In a petition to Lahore High Court littered with mistakes including Sara’s age, the family complained ‘they are required for the murder of Sara’s (sic), daughter aged about 12/13 year in the United Kingdom.’
An autopsy of the girl did not establish a cause of death but showed that she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries, which are likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time’
The legal papers lodged on behalf of (Urfan’s father) Muhammad Sharif stated that the missing couple and their extended relatives have been ‘victimised’ by the police hunt, denied their fundamental right to travel and complain they have been ‘deprived’ of personal liberties.
It was argued that Pakistani police has no basis to detain the couple as they haven’t committed any offences in Pakistan and there is no extradition treaty with Britain.
The family’s lawyer Malik Asif Taufeeq Awan demanded the court intervene to ‘protect and to save the entire family member including Urfan Sharif as well as her (sic) wife Benish Batool from the illegal iron hands of respondent authorities.’
The case had been due to be heard next week but the couple decided to hand themselves in today.
Five of her Sara’s siblings, aged between one and 13 and brought to Pakistan with the adults, were discovered at the home of Sharif’s father yesterday.
A magistrate placed the children into state protective services today.
Surrey Police say they are working with other local and international authorities to secure the children’s safe return.
But it is unclear where they will ultimately be sent or for how long they may be kept in the custody of Pakistan’s child protection bureau.
The five children were recovered by police Monday evening from Muhammad Urfan’s home in Jhelum, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Lahore in central Pakistan
The children, ranging in age from 1 to 13, were found after Interpol issued yellow notices for them, which are used to help locate missing persons, often minors
Olga Sharif with a picture of her daughter Sara who was found dead at her home in Woking, Surrey
Sara’s Polish mother, Olga Sharif, has said she could barely recognise her daughter’s small battered body when she identified her at the mortuary last month.
She told Polish television one of her cheeks was swollen and the other side of her face was bruised.
Olga and Urfan separated in 2015, and Sara and her older brother had lived with their mother until a family court determined in 2019 that they should reside with their father, according to UK media.
Sara had been removed from primary school in April to be homeschooled by her stepmother and was known to the local council’s social services department, the British reports said.