Skip to content

Wife’s Dying Words Help Convict Man Of Murder

“Don’t let my husband near me. He pushed me.”

These were among the last words spoken by Fawziyah Javed, a 31-year-old British attorney, as she lay critically injured on a rocky Scottish hillside, 50 feet below the clifftop where she’d been hiking with her husband. She was 17 weeks pregnant and had just told him she wanted a divorce.

Javed had been married to Kashif Anwar, then 27, for less than nine months when she succumbed to her injuries that night in September 2021. At the top of the cliff, a Scottish landmark known as Arthur’s Seat, Anwar told bystanders he didn’t have a cellphone, and asked them to call the police. He claimed that he and his wife had both tripped, but that he’d managed to right himself while she plummeted to the slope below.

But the evidence told a different story, according to numerous witnesses who testified when Anwar was tried for his wife’s murder.

No voice was louder than that of the woman he killed.

Her account, and the evidence she’d collected documenting her husband’s abuse, made Javed a star witness at the trial for her own murder. The trial, held in Edinburgh in March 2023, is the focus of “The Push: Murder on a Cliff,” a riveting new courtroom documentary currently streaming on Channel 4 in the U.K.

Fawziyah Javed’s husband, Kashif Anwar, was convicted of her murder after he pushed her off a cliff in Scotland in 2021. Fawziyah Javed Foundation

Javed, a successful employment lawyer, was the only child of Mohammed and Yasmin Javed, second-generation British Pakistanis. The small family was extremely close, and Fawziyah and her mother had a special bond.

“She was more than a daughter,” Yasmin said in “The Push.” “She was my best friend.”

Javed first met Anwar, an optical assistant, when she was helping her mother select new glasses in Leeds, the northern England city where the family lived. The two started dating, became engaged the following July, and wed in December 2020.

Yasmin Javed said her son-in-law seemed “very charming, very charismatic, polite and well-mannered” — a facade he instantly shed when he got angry. “He was a Jekyll-and-Hyde character,” she said, who used coercive control and violence in an attempt to force his wife into submission.

Javed’s dying declaration alone might not have been enough to convict her husband. However, she assisted the prosecution’s case in other crucial ways.

As Anwar’s abuse escalated from threats and intimidation to physical attacks, Javed contacted the police, twice. She didn’t want to press charges, she said — but she did want a record that she had reported his abuse.

Police body cameras rolled as Javed told officers that about three months after their wedding, Anwar had held a pillow over her face and punched it repeatedly. In a separate incident, he knocked her unconscious, she said.

Flowers and candles were placed at a vigil in honor of Javed, the pregnant 31-year-old who died on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

Flowers and candles were placed at a vigil in honor of Javed, the pregnant 31-year-old who died on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Jurors saw video of those two police interviews, the second of which occurred just six days before Javed’s death. Also played in court were secret recordings Javed had made of conversations with her husband. Anwar declined to testify in his own defense, so aside from the emergency call, his threats to his wife were the only words the jury heard from him.

The power dynamic of the couple’s relationship shifted almost instantly after their marriage, when Javed moved in with Anwar and his parents. The Anwars expected the new bride to be submissive and prioritize her relationship with them over her own parents — a tradition that Javed and her relatives objected to.

The Javeds didn’t believe that women should be subordinate to men. Both Fawziyah and Yasmin were members of Muslim Women’s Network UK, which works to promote social justice and equality for Muslim women and girls.

After her marriage, Javed fought to maintain her independence, working full-time and volunteering for a number of charitable causes. She also had her own bank account — from which, prosecutors showed, her husband had deducted 12,000 pounds, or nearly $15,000, while she slept.

Javed did briefly leave her husband to stay with her parents, which enraged Anwar. His misogyny and controlling behavior were evident in a phone call she recorded that was played in court.

“Who do you think you are?” he demanded. “You’re not a man… so come back tomorrow like you’ve been told. Do not be that ‘British woman’” — meaning an independent woman who enjoyed autonomy outside her marriage.

“You’re a disease in everyone’s life,” he said in another call when Javed was staying with her family, whom he had also previously threatened. “The sooner you’re dead, the sooner you’re out of my life. It’ll be better.”

Yasmin Javed said her daughter was planning to leave her husband within a few days when she went with him on a four-night trip to Edinburgh. It was surprising she agreed to a sunset hike, since she was afraid of heights and tired easily from her pregnancy, her mother said.

A photo of Arthur’s Seat used by the prosecution in Anwar’s murder trial. The arrows show the clifftop where Javed was hiking (blue) and the spot where she was found, 50 feet below (red).

A photo of Arthur’s Seat used by the prosecution in Anwar’s murder trial. The arrows show the clifftop where Javed was hiking (blue) and the spot where she was found, 50 feet below (red). Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Just a day before the hike, other hotel guests were so alarmed by hearing Anwar repeatedly shout at Javed that they notified authorities.

The police officer who first arrived on the scene of her death testified that she found Javed “writhing in pain” but still able to speak.

Javed reiterated what she had told a bystander, adding that her husband pushed her because she’d told him she “wanted to end” their marriage.

Javed was terrified, the officer said. “Am I going to die? Is my baby going to die?” she asked, according to the officer.

Medics arrived, but Javed’s condition deteriorated. She lost consciousness and CPR attempts were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at 10:18 p.m.

Anwar was found guilty and sentenced in April 2023 to 20 years to life in prison.

“The Push: Murder on a Cliff” is streaming on Channel 4 in the U.K. The broadcaster did not respond to HuffPost’s questions about the program’s availability in the U.S.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.