Businessman Jailed For Forced Marriage

A 34-year-old south Wales man is believed to be the first in the UK to be convicted under new forced marriage laws.

He's been sentenced to 16-years behind bars at Merthyr Crown Court.

The Cardiff businessman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, looked at the floor as Judge Daniel Williams called him an “arrogant, manipulative and devious man.”

Judge Williams said he had an “irrational fixation” with the woman and hadn’t shown remorse, or anything that approached it.

The court heard how he’d repeatedly raped his victim, a 25-year-old, and forced her to marry him.

The 34-year-old threatened to kill her parents if she told police and show secret video footage he’d taken of her in the shower.

In a victim impact statement, she said she felt “soiled, worthless and vulnerable” and that no one would want her.

The 25-year-old also thought about taking her own life.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges, including rape, forced marriage, bigamy and voyeurism and will remain on the sex offender’s register for “an indefinite” period.

Detective Superintendent Lian Penhale from South Wales Police said:

"We welcome today's sentencing in what has been an extremely traumatic experience for the victim and recognise the courage and strength it took to come forward and report this matter to the police.

"From the outset this complex case was a legal milestone in Wales and the UK and a benchmark to what can be achieved. I hope that today's sentencing will act as a catalyst to empower victims and those at risk to come forward and enable the police and our partners to give them the support they need to ensure they're free from this criminal activity - and to bring the offenders to justice.

"We know that victims and witnesses will be concerned, and therefore we want victims and those at risk to know that allegations will be treated in the strictest confidence and in a safe and sensitive manner. We also understand and recognise that victims those at risk may not want to demonise or otherwise criminalise their families, community or faith group.

"Our priority is to keep victims, and those at risk safe. South Wales Police is committed to protecting and upholding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the all. If anyone is worried about the threat of a Forced Marriage they should contact the police, the UK Forced Marriage Unit or one of the specialist agencies that support victims and potential victims of Forced Marriage."

Iwan Jenkins, Head of CPS Wales Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said:

"Forced marriage wrecks lives and destroys families. We hope that today's sentence sends a strong message that forced marriage will not be tolerated in today's Britain.

"It is a testament to the strength of the case which we constructed with the police that we secured a guilty plea for the offences in this case.

"The victim has shown great courage and bravery in reporting these matters. This conviction illustrates the seriousness in which these crimes are treated and investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service and South Wales Police.

It’s hoped this conviction will encourage more victims to come forward.