The True Story Behind Channel 4's The Push: Murder on the Cliff
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The True Story Behind Channel 4’s The Push: Murder on the Cliff

The murder that shocked the nation

We’re no stranger to true crime. The genre has seen a huge uptick in popularity over the last few years, with everything from documentaries to docudramas being eagerly snapped up by audiences. But what about crimes that are more recent – and closer to home? Earlier this week, Channel 4 dropped The Push: Murder on the Cliff, a two-part documentary revisiting the murder of Fawziyah Javed at the hands of her husband. It’s quickly become the most-talked about show in the UK this month, and it’s reopening the conversation surrounding domestic violence.

The Push: Murder on the Cliff

In 2021, news broke out that a pregnant woman had been pushed off Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, falling a 50ft drop and sustaining injuries that ultimately killed her. The woman, Fawziyah Javed, used her last words to tell a concerned bystander that the culprit was her husband Kashif Anwar.

The Push: Murder on the Cliff revisits the events of the murder and the subsequent trial, delving into the dynamics of the couple’s relationship and the events that led to Javed’s untimely death. As Channel 4 summarises, ‘In 2021, a pregnant young lawyer from Leeds plunged to her death from the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Hours later her husband was arrested for murder. Did she fall or was she pushed?’

Is It Based On A True Story?

The Push: Murder on the Cliff is a documentary covering real-life events from 2021. Fawziyah Javed and her husband Kashif Anwar were visiting Edinburgh on holiday, and on 2 September climbed up Arthur’s Seat together. Not long after they reached the top, the 31-year-old employment lawyer was seen falling down the hillside. Another woman, Daniyah Rafique, was able to reach Javed as she lay dying, but when Rafique went to alert Anwar of his wife’s condition Javed stopped her.

When recounting her conversation with Javed to the High Court in Edinburgh, Rafique said that the injured woman told her: ‘Don’t let my husband near me, he pushed me.’ This sentiment was repeated by Javed not long before she died. She was around 17 weeks pregnant.

Anwar was arrested just a few hours later, and the ensuing week-long trial found him guilty. The trial revealed several key points of evidence that suggested Anwar had been abusing his wife since their marriage in December 2020, with it coming to light that Javed had been making plans to leave him days after their trip together. Throughout their relationship, Javed had kept a collection of evidence of her husband’s abusive behaviour, including secretly recorded phone calls of Anwar threatening her. She went to the police twice (the last one recorded a few days before her death) to make a record of his abuse, but at the time did not want them to intervene.

Two calls were played in court, both of which demonstrated Anwar’s abuse and ultimately convinced the jury of his sentence. In the first, you can hear Anwar raging at Javed: ‘Who the f*** do you think you are? You’re a disease in everyone’s life.’

The second, made the same evening, documents hims saying: ‘Do I not have a say in how I want my life with you? You’re being a bitch. Why the f*** are you not listening to me? You’re not a man, so start behaving like a woman. Why the f*** did you decide to ruin my f***ing life? I tell you one thing – you end this and I’ll ruin yours. You know what, Fawziyah? I mean it.’

It was also revealed in court that Javed and her mother, Yasmin, had a code in case she was in danger.

PC Rhinannon Clutton later gave evidence to the court, saying that Javed told her that Anwar pushed her because she told him she wanted to end the marriage. Anwar’s version of events, meanwhile, proposed that he bumped into and knocked over his wife while trying to take a selfie. Anwar was later sentenced to a mandatory life sentence with an imprisonment period for 20 years.

Speaking on the creation of The Push, Alison Pomeroy, the Head of Documentaries at Channel 4, Alison Pomeroy said: ‘To tell Fawziyah’s story in this way, with her family bravely sharing what is an unimaginably painful time for them, is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. No woman should have to suffer an abusive relationship.

‘Shining a light on this heart-breaking case is important for many reasons, and I hope that other women suffering in a similar way might find strength in seeing this film to make a lifesaving change in their own life,’ she continued. ‘The access gained by Anna and the team at Candour to make this series is unique and I have no doubt they will honour Fawziyah’s memory, showing how her killer was brought to justice.’

Where Can You Stream The Push?

The Push: Murder on the Cliff was broadcast as a two-part series on Channel 4 on 3 and 4 March 2024. Both episodes are now available to watch on demand and on channel4.com

Featured image: Winston Tjia, Unsplash