No closure yet for Shukri Abdi’s family as inquest is adjourned

Lawyer Attiq Malik (c) with Shukri Abdi's mum Zamzam (l) and cousin (r)

The inquest into the drowning of Bury schoolgirl Shukri Abdi, which was due to conclude today, has been adjourned to a later date yet be confirmed because all the evidence in the case wasn’t heard.

Earlier in the week, the five day inquest in Manchester heard evidence that Shukri was threatened and coerced into the River Irwell despite the fact that she couldn’t swim.

Evidence from three of the four children who were with Shukri at the time of her death was heard but evidence from Child One and the police has yet to be given.

Shukri’s mother, Zamzam, cried as Coronor Joanne Kearsley apologised to her for the delay  and when asked to comment Zamzam told the court that she would wait “until she gets justice.”

Attiq Malik, the family’s solicitor, told 5Pillars: “We had envisioned that the inquest would only be one week and then the Coroner would make the decision but as often happens in legal proceedings matters have cropped up which mean that the evidence couldn’t be concluded. 90 per cent of it has been concluded but we now just have to hear how Child One’s evidence is going to be presented. Is it just going to be just video evidence (of the police interview) or will it be live oral evidence? That’s going to be decided next week.

“So unfortunately we haven’t finished yet, we are still on this journey and all I can ask everyone to do is pray for us that we get justice; that we get the truth and insha’ Allah in the next few weeks we should get a date for the evidence to be concluded. And then there will be a further short delay while the Coroner considers everything and makes the decision.”

He added: “The family had envisioned that the case would be finished this week and whilst they appreciate that delays happen for reasons outside of their control it’s still a very difficult time because they were hoping for closure today. And with this matter now half done still hanging over their heads it’s going to be very difficult for them. But they are a strong, resilient family who’ve had patience this far and as long as they get justice they are willing to wait longer.”

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Child Two testimony

On Day 5 of the inquest the court heard heard from Child Two who was with Shukri at the time of her death last June.

According to Child Two, Shukri, Child One and Child Two decided to go to a waterpark and slide after school but Child One and Two were “pissed off” at Shukri for failing to meet them at an agreed rendez-vous.

However, the children eventually persuaded Shukri to come with them and they took the bus into town to buy some clothes from Primark. At Primark Child One stole an item and Shukri put it into her bag. All three children were then warned for shoplifting and were banned from the store.

It was at this point that Shukri expressed reluctance to go with the others to the waterpark which the other children were not happy about. Shukri was panicking, according to Child Two, about what excuse she would make to her mum for getting back home so late.

Child Two said that the children then went to Child One’s home to get changed and eat something before taking the bus to what they thought would be a waterpark. Shukri was in good spirits at the time, Child Two said.

But the plan to go to the waterpark changed when the children met two other children en route and it was decided that they would all go to the River Irwell instead.

Child Two said that Shukri did say she couldn’t swim well but was not forced or threatened into the water by anyone.

When she got into difficulties in the water Child Two said one of the other children tried to save her without success. Child Two said that when the police arrived there was not a feeling that anyone had done anything wrong.

Child Two also answered “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” to a number of questions including:

  • Was Shukri threatened on the day of her death by any of the children who were with her?
  • Did Child Two call Shukri a “bitch” when Shukri failed to meet the children after school?
  • Did Child One or Child Two “lay hands” on Shukri?
  • Did anyone say to Shukri: “Get in the water or I’ll kill you.”

Earlier in the week Child Four, who was sat on the riverbank at the time, was asked “at any point when Shukri was struggling was Child One laughing?” The child replied: “Yes.”

Child Four said Child One continued to laugh even after Child Four jumped into the water to try and save Shukri.

On behalf of Shukri’s family coroner Joanne Kearsley thanked Child Four for their bravery.

She said: “You were exceptionally brave. You did everything you could to try and save Shukri. You were very, very brave and the family want to thank you for all the efforts you made.”

On Tuesday “Child Five” told the inquest that hours before her death Shukri had been “pushed around” by one of the children who went with her to the river.

They described witnessing Shukri at Broad Oak school in Bury, which Shukri, Child One and Child Two attended, at the end of the school day at 3.20pm. The child said that Shukri was approached in the locker room by Child One and Child Two.

The witness said that the physical approach was from Child One who “started pushing her around” and then told Shukri to get changed.

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