The parents of an English schoolgirl of Pakistani origin denied killing their daughter as they appeared in the Manchester Crown Court on Monday.

Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, of Liverpool Road, Warrington, were charged with the murder of their daughter Shafilea in September, according to the Echo.

Shafilea Ahmed, 17, who went missing from her home in Cheshire in September 2003, is a suspected victim of an "honour killing."

Her decomposing remains were found by workmen on the banks of the River Kent in Cumbria in February 2004. She was identified through her jewellery and dental records.

A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded at her inquest in 2008 after two post-mortem tests could not determine the cause of death, but pathologists believe that Shafilea was probably strangled or suffocated.

During the hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Sept. 15, Justice Richard Henriques said the press can report that the couple was charged after "a family member" accused them of killing their daughter, reported the Mirror.

But Shafilea's parents have always denied any involvement in her murder. Earlier, her parents were arrested in December 2003 on suspicion of abducting Shafilea, but were released without charge in June 2004 as a result of insufficient evidence.

According to the BBC, they were again taken into custody on the suspicion of their daughter's murder in 2010, but released on police bail.

According to the Echo, the court has set a provisional trial date for May 8 at Chester Crown Court.

Honour Killing

An honour killing is the killing of a person by his family members or group, due to the belief that the person has disgraced the family or community. Usually, honour killings are mostly practiced on women, but now men have also been targeted.

The practice is widespread throughout Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco and Egypt. However, it has to be understood that honour killing has nothing to do with the religion, it is more like a cultural practice.

Amnesty International, the international human rights membership organisation, had once said: "The regime of honor is unforgiving: women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honor by attacking the woman."