Model Falls to Death, Police Investigate 'Husband'

Sahar Daftary would have turned 24 on Christmas Day -- but instead of celebrating her life, family members of the British beauty queen mourned her death, laying flowers and lighting candles outside the apartment building from which she plunged 150 feet to her death.

Police say the case is under investigation and have not ruled out a suicide or accident, but last week they arrested and released on bail Rashid Jamil, 33, the man Daftary married in 2007 in a lavish Muslim ceremony, but not under British law.

Daftary was found in critical condition last Saturday after Jamil called police to his waterfront apartment building. She plunged 12 stories from his waterfront flat in Salford Quays, Manchester, and later died in the hospital.

Despite the wedding ceremony, the couple was never legally married and the relationship fizzled months after the ceremony when Daftary allegedly learned Jamil apparently was married to another woman -- believed to be his third wife -- occasionally living with her, and had three children.

Adding to the intrigue around Daftary's death is a dropped complaint of sexual assault, a rumored sex tape and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her reasons for being at Jamil's home the night she died.

"Just before 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, police were called to Salford Quays to a report that a woman had fallen from a building," a spokesman for the Greater Manchester Police told "Officers went to a scene on the Quays where a 23-year-old woman was taken to hospital, where she died of her injuries.

"Inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the death are currently underway. A 33-year-old man was arrested in connection with the death and has been bailed [out] until Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, pending further inquires."

Police made a point to say that her death had not yet been ruled a suicide or a murder, but Daftary's family insists the model-turned-university student would not have killed herself.

"Sahar was a happy girl," said Daftary's brother-in-law Joe Karim. "She was going to university and wanted to get on with her life. She had just booked a holiday to go to Dubai with a few friends. There is nothing to indicate she was suicidal."

Karim, who is married to Daftary's sister, said Daftary had in recent months become more religious and believed suicide was a sin.

"There is no way on Earth she would commit this sin," he said. "Suicide was against all of her religious beliefs. She had recently started praying five times a day and was seeking comfort to get over this man, who was a pathological liar and had made her life extremely difficult."

Daftary was in Manchester helping a friend who was putting on a fashion show and family members believe she visited Jamil to seek a Muslim divorce.

Karim said the family supported Daftary leaving Jamil when they came to believe he was still married to another woman.

The family believed she might have been abused, but their suspicions were not supported by any documentation until police revealed that the woman had filed a sexual assault complaint in May 2008.

"An investigation was launched," the spokesman said. "However, the victim refused to cooperate further."

Calls by to Jamil's home were answered by a man who identified himself only as "guest of Rashid" and who would not respond to questions. Later calls to the same number were not answered.

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