Model found hanged after taking court order to stop family forcing her to marry

Nadia Menaz was found dead at home

A model was found hanged five months after taking out a court order to stop her family forcing her into an arranged marriage, an inquest heard.

Mum of one Nadia Menaz, 24, was discovered at her home in Oldham in May.

The inquest was told she had already made nikah but the union was not recognised under English law and her family did not approve of her husband.

It was claimed Mrs Menaz was so troubled by her “very strained” relationship with her parents she suffered depression, cut her legs and cut off her hair during bouts of self harm.

She eventually took out a court order to stop her mother and father and three siblings forcing her into another marriage.

Five months later she was found dead at her home.

The hearing was told Mrs Menaz – the second youngest child of five sisters and three brothers – had been a former army cadet and harboured ambitions of joining the police.

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But after she left home at 16, she began modelling, arranged photoshoots for other models and worked as a wedding planner and flower arranger.

She met 25-year-old Umar Rasool in 2010 and they began dating – initially keeping their relationship hidden from her parents – until they made nikah in April 2011.

The couple had a daughter who was born in March 2012.

Last December, Mrs Menaz took out a ‘forced marriage protection order’ at the Family Court in Manchester against her father Sabir Hussain, 60, and her mother Ruksana Kousar, 55, and three of her seven siblings.

According to government guidelines, the legislation protects women if they are being threatened with a forced marriage or are already within a forced marriage.

At the hearing Mr Hussain and Mrs Kousar denied attempting to force Mrs Menaz into marriage and initially claimed they were unaware of the forced marriage protection order.

But under questioning they admitted they were aware of the order – and then claimed her daughter had been murdered by a ‘third party’.

Coroner Simon Nelson said Mr Hussain had made it clear in a statement to police he had issues over her relationship with Mr Rasool.

Speaking through an interpreter Mr Hussain told the Oldham hearing: “Once she got married there was no point in having issues. He used to assault her physically. They used to have a lot of arguments at home.

Father of Nadia Menaz, Sabir Hussain (left) leaving Oldham Magistrates Court after the inquest. PHOTO: Manchester Evening News
Father of Nadia Menaz, Sabir Hussain (left) leaving Oldham Magistrates Court after the inquest. PHOTO: Manchester Evening News

“When I found out about the marriage protection order I was still in contact with her and totally shocked. I don’t believe my daughter killed herself.

“All of her life I never realised and never sensed it that she was having any problems that could cause her death this way. I think my daughter has been killed and she has not died in the way described.”

Mr Hussain said since her death he had received text messages from Nadia’s phone number which said: “Nadia has passed away but now it’s your turn. You are going to be next.”

Mrs Kousar said: “Nadia was already married and she had a daughter as well so there was no point of having this forced marriage protection order.”

Mrs Menaz’s cousin Mohammad Nakash Ali, said: “She was quite distressed about quite a few things. It was mostly her family from what she told me and she had a quarrel with her husband which is normal with every relationship.

“She was stressed about her future and relationship and family and business and children. She vocalised her problems with her family in terms of her brother and relationship with her father and siblings.

“She told me she was stressed about things that has happened in the past and she was dealing with things by self-harming. She said her relationship with her immediate family was very strained, she tried very hard to make amends but it wouldn’t work.’’

In the weeks before her death Mrs Menaz underwent psychiatric treatment at Royal Oldham Hospital but was later discharged. On the day of her death on May 1, she had an argument with Mr Rasool who then went to see his family and go to their local mosque.

She sent him a text saying she was going to hang herself and when he returned home at around 6.30pm he found his wife’s body.

Police investigations ruled out third party involvement. A post-mortem confirmed a cause of death as hanging and also noted 60 wounds to her thigh that appeared to be self-inflicted.

Mr Rasool agreed with coroner Simon Nelson that Nadia’s family ‘‘weren’t particularly happy with the fact of their relationship’ and added: “I was aware of the forced marriage protection order. She was being treated in hospital because of her depression and her life.

“That was when she cut her legs and was banging her head and cut her hair off. Nadia wanted to proceed with the discharge. We all agreed it at a meeting and she felt it would be better if she was at home. She would work endlessly despite me saying it was too much too quickly. Her mood deteriorated.

“On the day she was ringing me constantly but I couldn’t answer because I was in mosque but she was saying ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to hang myself’. That wasn’t the first time she has done that.”

Mr Nelson said: “It has been suggested by family members that a third party was responsible for Nadia’s death. Were you in any way involved in either an altercation or alternatively the act of causing Nadia to be placed in the position you saw her when you returned?”

Mr Rasool said: “I had no involvement.”

The inquest will be concluded at a later date.

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