In March 2012, 19-year-old Elisa Frank was forced to watch helplessly as her former lover, Ahmad Otak, ferociously stabbed both her sister Kim and best friend Samantha, before bundling Elisa into a car and driving to Dover. Having been in an abusive relationship with Otak, the attack was sparked when Elisa had plucked up the courage to leave him.
Elisa was lucky enough to escape on the way to Dover and run to a nearby house to find help. Otak has since been convicted and sentenced to life, with a minimum of 34 years in prison.
Includes interviews with: Elisa Frank (victim) and Julie Warren Sykes (Samantha’s mum) and DCI Simon Atkinson, West Yorkshire Police.
For many women living with domestic abuse, it’s not the pain they suffer at the hands of their abuser that frightens them the most. It’s the threats made against their loved ones, their family and friends, that scares them. For 19-year-old Elisa Frank, what she had come to believe were hollow threats made by a controlling man were made very real in March 2012.
Elisa had only been with that man – Ahmad Otak – for a few months before his behaviour began to change. Having known Otak years previously during their stay at a children’s home, Elisa had no idea that the charming 21-year-old promising her a better life abroad was actually a sadistic, violent and disturbed man. Before long, he had stopped Elisa going to the library, only allowed her to watch the television shows he approved of, she even had to ask permission to use the toilet; eventually, Otak began controlling who Elisa could see.
18-year-old Sam Sykes, Elisa’s childhood best friend, had begun to have concerns about Otak’s effect on Elisa. Having been incredibly close growing up, the pair hardly ever spoke or saw each other after Otak’s arrival. Around this time, Elisa’s 17-year-old sister Kim moved back into the local area. Rather than this being good news for them all, they provided the ammunition Otak needed to completely control Elisa.
Otak had already been compiling ‘kill lists’ of people that he would hurt if Elisa ever left him. He often told her that she was saving lives by staying with him, and when Sam and Kim began to make more effort to see and speak to Elisa, Otak added their names to the list.
His behaviour continued to escalate, and after threatening her with a knife, and telling her he would sew her mouth shut, Elisa escaped for the first time. Otak’s threats of harm against Sam and Kim, as well as her parents and brother however, were enough to persuade her to go back to the relationship for the sake of her loved ones.
Elisa finally left Otak’s home for good in February 2012. Surprised at how well Otak took the news, Elisa had stayed in contact with him, and in March, asked him to bring some of her belongings to Kim’s house.
Otak arrived with Elisa’s things, but before the girls knew what was going on, Otak had stabbed Kim. In reality, he had no intention of allowing Elisa to leave him, and after stabbing Kim to death in front of her, he forced Elisa to call Sam and persuade her to come over, before tying her up.
When Sam arrived at the flat, Otak pounced. Stabbed multiple times, she too dies in full view of Elisa. Stealing Sam’s car keys, he drags Elisa to the car – headed for Dover and eventually Afghanistan, Otak’s home country. Once in Dover, Otak dumped the car and went to the lorry port, intending to secretly drag Elisa out of the UK by hiding in the back of a truck. Befriended by another immigrant, Elisa was finally able to tell someone what had happened, and with their help was able to escape Otak, before calling the police.
The authorities caught up to Otak within a couple of hours, and despite his attempts to hide his age, and generally subvert the investigation, he plead guilty to the murders of Kim Franks and Sam Sykes. Sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 33 years, Ahmad Otak has begun a life in prison; Elisa Franks has begun a life free from fear, but without her sister and best friend.