LONDON, (Reuters) – The father of a 15-year-old Muslim schoolgirl was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years for her murder on Thursday in a so-called family “honour killing”.
Tulay Goren, who came to Britain from the Kurdish region of Turkey disappeared from her home in Woodford Green, north London, almost 11 years ago. Her body has never been found. Her father Mehmet, 49, was found guilty of her murder after disapproving of a relationship she had with a man who was twice her age and from a different branch of the Islamic religion.
Mehmet’s brothers Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, were found not guilty at the Old Bailey of the same charge, the Press Association reported.
Her former boyfriend Halil Unal, who survived being attacked with an axe by Mehmet, still lives in fear for his life. All three defendants were cleared of conspiring to murder him.
The trial heard how Mehmet Goren, a Shia Muslim with a gambling addiction, was a psychotic bully who would regularly beat his wife and family.
The court heard how he had once tried to gas all of them to death and on another occasion to inject his wife Hanim with rat poison.
It was her courage in speaking up against her husband in court after 30 years of torment that helped convict him of their daughter’s murder.
The court heard that Mehmet killed the teenager because of her doomed “Romeo and Juliet” romance with Halil that he and his other relatives disapproved of. She was besotted with him, but her father said the affair made her a “worthless commodity” because he could not marry her off for 5,000 pounds.
Jonathan Laidlaw, prosecuting, said the case was a “terrible reminder of what honour-based crime can involve” and a “wake-up call” to the existence of the problem in this country.
Mehmet’s wife Hanim is also now said to be living in fear after she named him as their daughter’s killer, saying he had “swallowed” Tulay. He collapsed in the dock as she began giving evidence against him and she later screamed with anguish at her husband across the courtroom, demanding to know what he had done with her. “How a father could take a knife to his own daughter is something that is really quite impossible to understand,” Laidlaw said.
After the case, Nuray Guler, Tulay’s older sister, called on her father to tell the family where she was buried. She said: “For my father, I have only one request. I ask that he finally discloses the whereabouts of my sister. “I wake up at night wondering where Tulay may be. In quiet moments during the day I ask myself if she suffered or knew what was in store for her.
An ethnic Kurd from Elbistan in Turkey, Mehmet Goren was a petty criminal who was jailed for handling a stolen carpet and was wanted for an allegation of attempted rape before moving to Britain where he claimed asylum in 1996.
In Britain, he became a part-time fish-and-chip shop worker but was barely able to support his wife Hanim and four children because of the gambling.