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The push: Her dying words led to her husband's murder conviction

People participate in a vigil at the Scottish Parliament for Fawziyah Javed
Image: People participate in a vigil at the Scottish Parliament for Fawziyah Javed on the anniversary of her death - 2nd September 2022 | SST / Alamy Stock Photo

A seemingly ordinary trip to a picturesque holiday attraction turned to horror. But how did detectives prove that the death of Fawziyah Javed was not a tragic accident?

A charming meet-cute

One day in 2019, young employment law solicitor Fawziyah Javed went shopping for spectacles in a Leeds branch of Vision Express. While there, she happened to get talking to one of the optical assistants, a confident man named Kashif Anwar.

It was the kind of meet-cute you might see in a film or television show. They started dating in August of that year and by the following summer, they were engaged. But what should have been a time of excited anticipation ahead of the wedding was marred by Anwar’s worryingly volatile behaviour.

Fawziyah’s mum, Yasmin Javed, was perturbed when he completely flew off the handle – ‘shouting, swearing and screaming’ – simply because he’d been told to put on his seatbelt. Fawziyah’s uncle, Shahid Frouk, also had his concerns, later saying, ‘I never liked him. I said to my niece and Yasmin, “He’s arrogant, he’s cocky, he’s a very confident guy”. There was just something about him that was bugging me but what it was I don’t know.’

The spiralling abuse

The couple tied the knot in December 2020, but Anwar’s bouts of fury escalated at a frightening pace. He would undercut Fawziyah’s sense of self-worth, calling her a ‘disease in everyone’s life’, and he was increasingly aggravated by the fact she was a strong, independent professional. During one incendiary argument, he told her, ‘You’re not a man, so start behaving like a woman.’

He also exhibited classic coercively controlling behaviour, trying to isolate Fawziyah from her friends and family by forcing her off Facebook, telling her how to dress, and even withdrawing £12,000 from her bank account without her consent. With grim predictability, he also became physically violent, at one point placing a pillow over her face and punching her.

Others were aware of how dark things had become in the marriage. Yasmin told her daughter to text her the code phrase, ‘I like cream cakes’ if she needed her to alert the authorities. A hospital midwife voiced her concerns to the pregnant Fawziyah when another patient on the ward overheard Anwar repeatedly swearing at her and saying, ‘If you died during childbirth that would be OK, I would be free.’

Although Fawziyah did acknowledge the abuse, and even contacted the police more than once, she was intent on handling the situation in her own way, setting the legal machinery in motion for a divorce. But Anwar, who had once told her, ‘You end this and I’ll ruin [your life]’, wasn’t going to let it happen.

The tragic holiday

In September 2021, the couple embarked on a mini-break to Edinburgh, after which Fawziyah intended to leave her abusive husband. Following a meal, the couple decided to take a walk up Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that is one of the most popular destinations in the city.

What should have been a pleasant scenic walk took a terrible turn when Fawziyah plunged 50 feet from the rocky outcrop, sustaining devastating injuries. A fellow sightseer managed to get to her quickly, at which point the delirious, dying Fawziyah quickly uttered the words that proved instrumental in Anwar’s conviction, ‘Don't let my husband near me, he pushed me.’

She said the sentence again when police arrived, and heartbreakingly asked if she and her unborn baby were going to die. They both passed away on Arthur’s Seat, but Anwar didn’t even attempt to play the grieving husband.

Police were struck by how calm and unruffled he was as he recounted how he lost his balance and bumped into his wife while trying to take a selfie: ‘I heard her go over the edge and say, “Oh my foot” and she started screaming. I heard a thud. I kept shouting her name, but I wasn't getting any response.’

As well as being oddly placid about the sudden death of his pregnant wife, Anwar drew more suspicion to himself by admitting, ‘I know how this looks’, and even openly musing that he probably wouldn’t get bail, ‘not for murder’.

Arthur's Seat overlooking the city of Edinburgh
Image: Fawziyah Javed was pushed to death from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh by her husband, Kashif Anwar |

Justice for Fawziyah

During his week-long trial, Anwar’s barrister admitted that his client ‘came across as a horrible person’, but emphasised that nobody actually saw him push Fawziyah and that the jury was being ‘asked to take a massive guess’.

The fact that the jury felt confident in convicting Anwar of murder can be put down to Fawziyah herself, and her final words that implicated her husband. As the prosecutor in the case later said, ‘The evidence of what Fawziyah said was crucial. It was effectively Fawziyah speaking to the jury.’

There’s every possibility that Anwar would have walked free without that crucial piece of evidence. Although he was handed a life sentence, the case has highlighted what the campaign group Killed Women describes as the ‘hidden homicides’ of women who are pushed to their deaths, and whose killers aren’t brought to justice because of a lack of eyewitnesses.

In the words of Yasmin Javed, a member of the organisation, ‘Domestic abusers will continue to get away with murder if we don’t ensure the cases of so-called fallen women are rigorously investigated by authorities. We must have a system that delivers justice for these women.’