Mother jailed for tricking daughter to marry man 16 years older than her in Pakistan
23 May 2018, 11:52
A mother has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after forcing her daughter to marry in Pakistan.
The forced marriage prosecution is the first of its kind in Britain, with the woman convicted of deceiving her daughter to travel from the UK.
A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard how the girl sobbed during the marriage to a man 16 years her senior.
He had taken her virginity during a trip to Pakistan years earlier, entering into a marriage contract against her will when she was 13 years old.
She became pregnant and underwent an abortion on her return to the UK.
At the time, her GP reported concerns over the procedure to social services, but the intervention did not stop a later forced marriage.
As she approached her 18th birthday, the girl's mother tricked her into going to Pakistan for what she believed was a family holiday.
However, wedding preparations were made despite her objections and the girl was married to the man in September 2016.
Taken to get ready for the ceremony, she was given papers to sign and had to say "I do" under intense pressure.
It was only when she managed to alert friends in the UK, who told Birmingham City Council's children's services and police, that her mother was asked to return home.
The woman went on to lie under oath, claiming her daughter had not been married and that she and the man were "two teenagers who had sneakily had sex".
Sentencing, Judge Patrick Thomas said the woman had acted with "cowardice" and "deceit".
"She was frightened, alone, held against her will, being forced into a marriage she dreaded," he said.
"You must have known that was her state of mind. Yet for your own purposes, you drove the marriage through."
Elaine Radway, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "It is thanks to the brave testimony of the victim that this serious offending was uncovered and that there was sufficient evidence to secure the conviction today."
Forced marriage became an offence in 2014 but prosecution is difficult, especially because it often relies on family members testifying against each other.