- Nadia Menaz found dead at her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
- Model and wedding planner died five months after taking out court order to stop her family from forcing her to marry .
- Mother-of-one had already married in Islamic ceremony but it was never confirmed under English law and parents disapproved, inquest told .
- Ms Menaz had ‘very strained’ relationship with her parents. She also suffered depression and underwent psychiatric treatment before her death.
A model was found hanged after fearing she was about to be forced into an arranged marriage by her Muslim parents, an inquest heard.
Nadia Menaz, 24, was found dead at her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester in May, five months after taking out a court order to stop her family from forcing her to marry.
The mother-of-one had already married in an Islamic ceremony, but the union was not recognised under English law, and her family did not approve of her husband, Umar Rasool, Oldham Coroner’s Court heard.
The hearing was also told that Ms Menaz had a ‘very strained’ relationship with her parents. She had also suffered depression, and had self harmed, as well as cutting off her hair.
Ms Menaz, a former army cadet who had wanted to join the police but started modelling after leaving home at 16, had met Mr Rasool, 25, in 2010.
They began dating, initially keeping their relationship hidden from her parents until they married in an Islamic ceremony in April 2011. The marriage was never formally confirmed under English law, but the couple had a daughter who was born in March 2012.
In December last year, Ms 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 eight 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 Ms Menaz into marriage and initially claimed they were unaware of the forced marriage protection order.
However, when questioned further they admitted they were aware of the order, before claiming their daughter had been murdered by a ‘third party.’
Coroner Simon Nelson said Mr Hussain had made it clear in a statement to police that he had issues over Ms Menaz’s relationship with Mr Rasool.
Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Hussain told the 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.
‘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.’
Ms Menaz, the second youngest child of five sisters and three brothers who also worked as a wedding planner and florist, had been ‘distressed’ prior to her death, according to her cousin.
‘She was quite distressed about quite a few things,’ Mohammad Nakash Ali, said.
‘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 Ms Menaz underwent psychiatric treatment at Royal Oldham Hospital but was later discharged.
On the day she died, May 1, she had argued with Mr Rasool, who then went to see his family and go to their local mosque, the court heard.
She had 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 and a post-mortem examination confirmed a cause of death as hanging. There were also wounds to her thigh, which appeared to be self-inflicted.
Mr Rasool agreed with Mr Nelson that Ms Menaz’s family ‘weren’t particularly happy with the fact of their relationship’.
‘I was aware of the forced marriage protection order,’ he added. ‘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 was adjourned and will be concluded at a later date.