Six members of a British-Bangladeshi family have been sentenced to varied jail terms, including life imprisonment, for beating to death a 19-year-old family member after subjecting her to "unimaginable abuse" in one of the most harrowing cases of domestic abuse in the country.
Teenager Shahena Uddin, who was forced to lick toilet bowl and eat her own faeces, died after being severely beaten at the family home in Leavesden Road, Watford in October last year.
Shahena was found dead in a bathroom by ambulance staff and had choked on her own vomit.
"Shahena was a vulnerable young person. She suffered abuse and violence at the hands of her own family. The regime of brutality and extreme violence was so deeply embedded and feared, that she could not risk the results of any form of complaint to the outside world," said Prosecutor Simon Trimmer.
St Albans Crown Court convicted 32-year-old Salma Begum, Shahena's sister-in-law, of murder and conspiracy to pervert the course and sentenced to her to life imprisonment. She should serve a minimum of 18 years.
Four of Shahena's brothers and a sister were also jailed.
The six members of the family were found guilty of various charges by the court and sentenced by Justice Spencer yesterday.
"In all my years as a detective, this case has been possibly one of the most harrowing cases of domestic abuse I have dealt with," Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit was quoted as saying.
"Shahena suffered unimaginable abuse both physically and mentally which was tantamount to torture.
What she was subjected to being denied water, being made to drink toilet water and being forced to eat her own faeces are just a few of the extremely disturbing 'punishments' her family inflicted on her, isolating her and making her life agony," Wylie said.
The court heard Shahena had been under the guardianship of Suhail Uddin, her eldest brother, and his wife since she was 15.
She was force fed, slapped and beaten for eating too slowly and was often kept from using the toilet or from drinking water.