Father killed family for being too western
A father killed his wife and four daughters in their sleep because he could not bear them adopting a more westernised lifestyle, an inquest heard yesterday.
Mohammed Riaz, 49, found it abhorrent that his eldest daughter wanted to be a fashion designer, and that she and her sisters were likely to reject the Muslim tradition of arranged marriages.
Caneze Riaz, 39, woke and tried to protect her three-year-old child, Hannah, who was sleeping with her, but was overcome by fumes. Her other daughters, Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 13, and Alisha, 10, died elsewhere in the house.
Riaz, who had spent the evening drinking, set himself on fire and died two days later.
Relatives broke the news to the couple’s son, Adam, 17, as he lay terminally ill with cancer at the Christie Hospital, Manchester. He died six weeks later.
Michael Singleton, the coroner, recorded verdicts that Riaz killed himself and that his victims were unlawfully killed.
Riaz, who had spent all but the last 17 years of his life in the North West Frontier region of Pakistan, met his Anglo-Pakistani wife when her father sent her to the sub-continent to find a husband.
After an arranged marriage, she developed a career as a community leader in Accrington while he, handicapped by a lack of English, took on a series of low-paid jobs.
After Mrs Riaz’s father died she “suddenly felt less beholden to Mohammed”, a friend said. “She started to develop her own circle of friends and allowed the girls to express themselves in a more western way.”
She began to work with women who felt suppressed by Asian culture and many saw her as a role model for young Asian women.