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Honour: the real story behind the ITV drama

The 20-year-old was killed by her father, uncle and cousins 

Emmy Griffiths

Viewers have been impressed with Keeley Hawes' new ITV drama Honour, which follows the investigation into the death of a young woman who was murdered at the hands of her family in an 'honour killing'. 

READ: Honour viewers saying the same thing about ITV drama

The show is based on the true story of Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old woman who left her abusive arranged marriage. Find out more here... 

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WATCH: Banaz's story retold in ITV's Honour

Banaz was an Iraqi Kurdish woman who lived in South London. After spending two years in a forced, abusive arranged marriage with a man ten years older than herself, Banaz began a relationship with a partner of her own choosing, Rahmat Sulemani. Her decision to leave her husband and begin a new relationship displeased her family, who believed she had brought 'shame' onto the family. 

Banaz wrote a letter to the police outlining her suspicions that her family was planning to kill her. The police were also called out when Banaz survived a murder attempt from her father. According to DCI Caroline Goode's book on Banaz's death, Honour, the young woman broke a window while escaping her mother. The police officer on the scene dismissed her claims and wanted to charge her for damaging the window. 

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Banaz had gone the police over her concerns before her murder

Her boyfriend, Rahmat, also reported that he had narrowly avoided a kidnap attempt just two days before Banaz's death. On 24 January 2006, Banaz was attacked at her home by her three cousins, who subjected her to torture before killing her.

Speaking about the lack of police response before Banaz's death, IPCC Commissioner Nicola Williams, said: "Banaz Mahmod was a young woman who lost her life in terrible circumstances... It is clear that the police response was at best mixed... There were delays in investigations, poor supervision, a lack of understanding and insensitivity." 

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Keeley stars as Caroline Goode, the officer investigating Banaz's death

The show's writer Gwyneth Hughes said: "Banaz Mahmod met her brutish death on the orders of her own father and uncle, which I find profoundly unsettling. This story shows the sheer heroism and dedication of the police officers who hunted down her killers. Caroline Goode and her team felt real love for this girl they’d never met. I found their unusual warmth and humanity deeply moving." 

Her father, uncle and three cousins were sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. Old Bailey judge Brian Barker told them: "This was a barbaric and callous crime. To restore the so-called family honour, it was decided by her father and uncle that she should die and her memory be erased... You were willing and active participants in what was an agonising death and a deliberately disrespectful disposal. 

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"You are hard and callous men who were quite prepared to assist others in killing in the so-called name of honour and who placed respect from the community above life, tolerance and understanding."

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Banaz's father was sentenced to life in prison

After entering witness protection, Banaz's partner Rahmat sadly died by suicide in 2016, ten years after her death. Speaking about his actions in the case, Caroline said: "Without him we wouldn't have known that Banaz was even missing... He risked his life to go up against his whole community and in doing so gave up everything and everyone he knew." 

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