15 Nov 2010

British father who murdered 15 year old daughter in 'honour killing' jailed for life, wife fears reprisals for testifying against him

BBC News - December 17, 2009

'Honour killing' father given life for Tulay murder

A father has been jailed for life, with a minimum tariff of 22 years, for murdering his 15-year-old daughter in a so-called honour killing.

Tulay Goren disappeared in 1999 after having a relationship with a man her family disapproved of.

At the Old Bailey, her father Mehmet, 49, was convicted of murder. His brothers Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, were cleared of the charge.

Tulay was last seen at her home in north London, in January 1999.

The body of the schoolgirl - who told a friend she may have been pregnant just before she disappeared - has never been found.

The court previously heard Mehmet Goren disapproved of Tulay's relationship with factory worker Halil Unal because of religious differences and the fact Mr Unal was 15 years older than Tulay.

Goren and his brothers Cuma and Ali, both from Walthamstow, east London, were all cleared of conspiring to murder Mr Unal, between May 1998 and February 1999.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Bean, said Goren's attempts to appear a "thoroughly modern and enlightened family man failed to deceive the jury".

"The reality is that your enigmatic smile conceals a violent and dominating personality," he told the killer.

"Your wife Hanim has finally had the courage to break free of the domination and reveal what she knew of what you did in January 1999."

Goren disposed of the schoolgirl's body "with such ingenuity that it has never been found", the judge said.

"There is nothing honourable about such a hideous practice or the people who carry it out," he added.

Mr Justice Bean made clear Goren would not be eligible for parole until 2030, when he will be nearly 70.

The court had heard that on 7 January 1999, the part-time fish and chip shop worker, told his son Tuncay to kiss Tulay goodbye at their home in Woodford Green, London, as he would never see his sister again.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said he killed Tulay "to restore the so-called honour" of the family, who originate from Turkey.

The term "honour" was an "appalling and inappropriate way" to "dignify" the offence, he added.

The court heard Mr Unal was brought up as a Sunni Muslim while the Gorens were from the Alevi branch of the faith.

Despite coming from places no more than 60 miles apart in Turkey, a relationship between the sects "would not have been tolerated", and Tulay was killed by Goren "to avoid further humiliation".

The court was also told Goren served three years in jail for a hatchet attack on Mr Unal, 13 days after the murder.

But the attack and the disappearance were treated separately and it was two months before detectives began to suspect Tulay had been murdered.

Mehmet Goren's wife Hanim, 45, is now living in fear after she named him as their daughter's killer, saying he had "swallowed" Tulay.

He collapsed in the dock at the Old Bailey as she began giving evidence against him and she later screamed at her husband across the courtroom, demanding to know what he had done with the girl.

Police said they were now better able to recognise "tell-tale signs" connected to honour violence.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said that the Goren 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.

Following the verdict, police and lawyers praised Mrs Goren and Tulay's sisters.

Detective Inspector John Macdonald of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "Although it has taken some time, there has finally been some justice for Tulay."

Tulay's older sister Nuray Guler, 28, has called on her father to tell the family where she was buried.

"For my father, I have only one request. I ask that he finally discloses the whereabouts of my sister," she said.

"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."

In a statement read outside court on behalf of Ali Goren, he said: "The case has caused so much suffering for the Goren family."

Cuma Goren also thanked the jury and said he would like to go home to have time to spend with his family.

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The Guardian - UK December 17, 2009

Tulay Goren's father given life sentence for 'honour killing'

Mehmet Goren must serve minimum of 22 years for killing daughter after kidnapping, drugging and tying her up

by Karen McVeigh | The Guardian

A woman whose husband was jailed today for murdering their 15-year-old daughter 10 years ago in an "honour killing" is living in fear of reprisals after she gave devastating evidence against him.

Tulay Goren was killed in January 1999 for running away from home to live with her boyfriend, a fellow Turkish Kurd twice her age whom her family disapproved of because he was from a different branch of Islam.

Today, at the end of a dramatic and emotional 11-week trial, Mehmet Goren was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 22 years, for killing his daughter after kidnapping, drugging and tying her up. Her remains, which police believe were buried in the family garden temporarily, have never been recovered, making this one of only a handful of murder convictions secured without a body.

The prosecution claimed Mehmet's brothers Ali, 55, and Cuma, 42, helped him in the murder after a "family council" decided that she and her forbidden lover must die. But the Old Bailey jury were not convinced and cleared the brothers of any involvement in her murder.

Tulay's mother Hanim, whose testimony against her husband was crucial to the prosecution, was too afraid to attend court for the rest of the trial. Last week police installed additional security measures in her home and that of her surviving daughter, Nuray, also a prosecution witness. Yesterday, Nuray praised her mother for testifying. She said: "No one should fail to realise what this means within our culture. These people do not forget."

She added: "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."

Experts have said the breach of the code of honour, or namus, that detectives believe led to Tulay's killing could also apply when a woman speaks out against her husband.

The case marked the first time prosecutors have used expert witnesses in an "honour" crime. They described how the system worked among Turkish Kurds and highlighted features of the Goren case – such as the loss of her virginity to her boyfriend, a loss of family honour that triggered the murder – which paralleled similar murders in Turkey.

Police believe there are 12 "honour killings" a year in Britain, and a quarter of the victims are under 18. Police and prosecutors introduced new measures to protect and punish perpetrators in the wake of public criticism of failings in the case of Banaz Mahmod, who sought police help before she was killed by her father and uncle in 2006. Risk assessment measures identifying cases where victims may be vulnerable are now flagged up in police stations, police receive training in "honour" violence, and there are now prosecutors who specialise in the crime.

Sentencing Mehmet to life, Mr Justice Bean told him that his attempts to portray himself as an enlightened family man had not worked. "Your enigmatic smile conceals a violent and dominating personality," the judge said. "The victim was a child of 15 with her whole of her life before her. You were in a position of trust as her father. You planned her murder with considerable care."

Speaking about the day Tulay was killed, the judge went on: "You instructed your family to leave the house, telling her eight year-old brother to kiss her goodbye because he would never see her again. I was not surprised to be told that this moment has haunted him ever since."

An "average, normal or unexceptional murder" carries a 14-year sentence but the judge said Tulay's killing had many aggravating features, including planning, and was similar to racially or religiously aggravated killings.

Detectives came to believe that Mehmet killed his daughter as early as March 1999, when Hanim told them of her suspicions. But the Crown Prosecution Service advised against charging him because they could not rule out the possibility that she was still alive. At that time "honour killing", particularly in the Turkish and Kurdish community, was an alien concept to police and public. But when the case was re-examined in 2007, it followed the successful prosecutions of similar murders. In 2003 an Iraqi Kurd, Abdulla Yones, was jailed for life for killing his 16-year old daughter, Heshu, and in 2007, the father and uncle of Banaz Mahmod were given life imprisonment for her murder.

Gerry Campbell, of the Met's violent crime directorate, said the lessons learned had "galvanised us to know and understand honour-based violence".

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Daily Express - UK December 18, 2009


By John Twomy

A BULLYING father was jailed for life yesterday for the “Romeo and Juliet” murder of his teenage daughter.

Turkish chip shop worker ­Mehmet Goren was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years for killing his daughter Tulay.

The 15-year-old was the victim of an “honour killing” after Goren discovered she had fallen in love with a man from a different Islamic sect.

She died in 1999 and her body has never been found. Relatives believe she was battered, strangled and stabbed by her father.

As he started his life sentence, Tulay’s sister Nuray pleaded with Goren to reveal what he did with her remains.

She said: “I wake up at night wondering where Tulay may be and in quiet moments during the day, I ask myself if she suffered or knew what was in store for her.”

The Old Bailey heard how Tulay fell for Halil Unal, 30, when they were both working at a clothes factory. Tulay is believed to have become pregnant by him, leading her father to brand her a “worthless commodity”. Goren could have married her off for £5,000 but Tulay was an Alevi and Unal a Sunni.

A police source said: “This couple loved each other. But their relationship was doomed because her father could not stand the fact that he was of a different sect.”

Tulay was last seen in January 1999, when Goren told his son Tuncay, then eight, to kiss his ­sister goodbye for the last time.

Justice caught up with the killer when Tulay’s mother Hanim revealed what she knew of her husband’s appalling crime.

Goren, of Woodford Green, London, had denied murder. His brothers Ali, 56, and Cuma, 43, were cleared of murder. All three were cleared of conspiracy to murder Halil Unal.

Mr Justice Bean said Goren had subjected his family to years of abuse. He said: “The term ‘honour killing’ is a convenient shorthand, but it is a grotesque distortion of language.

“There is nothing honourable about such a hideous practice or the people who carry it out.”

Last night Nuray praised the bravery of her mother for testifying. She said: “My mother and I have a message for women who feel they have no voice. Let them find the courage to come forward to the authorities and speak out. Let them know that they will be listened to and taken seriously.

“It is our hope that the people of Britain and elsewhere will read about this case. We hope that they will learn something of the honour code and that as a result no more Tulays will fall victim to this primitive custom.”

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