'If anything happens to me, it's them': Chilling previously unseen video of young honour killing victim warning police her life is in danger
Banaz Mahmod 's father and uncle were jailed for life for her murder in 2007
Banaz: A Love Story, a new documentary which tells the story of her tragic death, will be previewed at the Raindance film festival this month
17:37 GMT, 24 September 2012
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The tragic story of a young woman who was killed by her family after walking out on an arranged marriage and finding love with another man has been brought into the spotlight once again in a new documentary.
Banaz Mahmod, 20, went missing shortly after visiting a police station and telling officers that she believed her family intended to murder her.
The film, Banaz: A Love Story, which is to be premiered at the Raindance film festival in London this month, includes never-before-seen recordings made by the Kurdish woman herself, as well as videotapes of the five visits she made to police to ask for help.
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In fear of her life: Banaz Mahmod is seen telling officers that she believes her family intend to murder her during a police interview. She was killed in January 2006
Harrowing: Banaz visited police five times asking for help
‘People are following me, still they are following me. At any time, if anything happens to me, it's them,’ Banaz says in a haunting video recorded during one of her police visits. ‘Now I have given my statement, what can you do for me’
Sadly the police weren’t able to offer her much assistance and Banaz was murdered at her home in Mitcham, Surrey on 24 January 2006.
She was strangled with a bootlace and her body stuffed in a suitcase and buried six feet down in the garden of a house belonging to an associate in Birmingham.
Banaz's father Mahmod Mahmod and uncle Ari Mahmod were convicted of her murder in June 2007, two other men involved fled to Iraq and were extradited back before being jailed for life in 2010.
The harrowing documentary examining her untimely death was made by former pop star and now music producer and film-maker Deeyah, who is of Punjabi and Pashtun heritage.
Untimely death: 'We tried to find anyone who would have known her, no one came forward,' says Deeyah who tells Banaz's story in the documentary Banaz: A Love Story
Love story: Banaz's family killed her after she walked out on an arranged marriage and began dating family friend Rahmat Sulemani
Deeyah, who quit touring after being subjected to constant death threats, said that she was extremely touched by Banaz’s story.
‘We tried to find anyone who would have known her, no one came forward,’ Deeyah told The Observer.
‘Then I came across the videotape with Banaz herself, telling us what her suffocating reality was like. Watching this tape for the first time was among the most difficult things I have ever experienced.
‘I had spent three-and-a-half years working on this film, learning everything I could about this young woman's life and her death, we were in the final editing process and suddenly here she was, when no one else would come forward to speak about her.
'I found it excruciatingly sad to see her and at the same time I felt so glad to finally get a chance to see her and hear her. No one listened to her in her life. ‘
Banaz’s nightmare began when she agreed to an arranged-marriage when she was 17 to a Kurdish man, then aged 28, who she told police was ‘very strict. Like it was 50 years ago.’
She had met her husband-to-be only three times before her wedding day,and according to Banaz, who was 12 she first arrived in England, after fleeing Saddam Hussein's Iraq, with parents
Mahmod and Behya, her husband regularly abused her physically and also subjected her to sexual assaults.
‘When he raped me it was like I was his shoe that he could wear whenever he wanted to,’ she explained. ‘I didn't know if this was normal in my culture, or here. I was 17.’
The terrified young woman left her husband after two-and-a-half years, a decision that angered her family deeply.
Family torn apart: Banaz's older sister Bekhal put her own life at risk by giving evidence against her family in court and her father Mahmod Mahmod was found guilty of murder. Bekhal says she is still living in hiding
After returning to her family home, she met and fell in love with Rahmat Sulemani, a family friend.
Rahmat would later give evidence at the trial revealing that he and Banaz had been threatened with death if they carried on seeing each other.
The mobile phone footage he took of Banaz when she was lying covered in blood in a hospital bed, in an apparent earlier attempt to murder her, was shown at the trial.
The lovers pretended they had parted after the shocking incident, but they continued to meet in secret. They were spotted together in Brixton on January 21 and the Mahmods were informed.
Rahmat was kidnapped by four men who told him he would be killed later.
When he phoned Banaz to warn her, she went to the police and said she would co-operate in bringing charges against her family and other members of the community.
The policewoman who saw Banaz tried to persuade her to go into a hostel or safe house but she apparently thought she would be safe at home because her mother was there.
She returned to the family home and was murdered just days later.
Banaz’s older sister Bekhal also gave evidence at the trial, putting her own life at risk by testifying against her family in court.
Banaz's father (pictured leaving court) and her uncle Ari Mahmod were convicted of her murder in June 2007, two other men involved fled to Iraq and were extradited back before being jailed for life in 2010
Jailed: Mahmod Mahmod was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his daughter
‘She was a very calm and quiet person,’ Bekhal says of her sibling. ‘She loved to see people happy and didn't like arguments, she didn't like people raising their voices, she hated it.
‘She just wanted a happy life, she just wanted a family.’
Bekhal is still living in hiding five years after her uncle and father were convicted and says she 'watches her back 24/7’.
Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode was instrumental in in getting justice for Banaz and won a Queen's Award for her efforts.
‘I do think that we are only scratching the surface of this. One of the difficulties is that these things aren't often reported,’ she told reporters in 2007
‘In Banaz's case, if her boyfriend hadn't reported it, we would never have known that she was missing.’
‘Despite the horror, what emerges is a story of love,’ Deeya adds. ‘What has upset me greatly from the very beginning of this project is how absent Banaz was from her own story.
‘Whenever you see a film about someone who has passed you will always have family, friends, people who knew the person, sharing their love, their memories and thoughts about the person who has died; they have home videos, photos.
‘That was just not the case here at all. The only person speaking for Banaz who had known her alive was her sister. Other than that, everyone else in the film came to know Banaz after she had died.’
Watch a trailer for Banaz: A Love Story
Banaz A Love Story – Trailer from Fuuse on Vimeo.