BIRMINGHAM: A mother who forced her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. The 40-year old woman whose name can’t be mentioned due to legal restrictions, from Birmingham, tricked the then 17-year-old into travelling to Pakistan to wed. The victim had been made pregnant by the man when she was 13, which her mother took to be a “marriage contract”.
The case is the first successful prosecution of its type. In sentencing the woman at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Patrick Thomas QC said the victim had been “sold for her passport”. Jurors had heard the daughter protested against the marriage but her mother threatened to burn her passport and assaulted her.”It takes no imagination to understand the terror she must have felt”, the judge said.
Prosecutor Deborah Gould read a victim statement to the court, in which the girl said she was proud of herself for coming forward and wanted other young women who found themselves in similar situations to ask for help. She was previously found guilty of the forced marriage offence and a count of perjury after a two-week trial.
The mother was cleared of perverting the course of justice. It is only the second time anyone has been convicted in court of a forced marriage in the UK. The judge explained how the maximum term for forced marriage offences was seven years. But in this case he imposed three and a half years for forced marriage, and one year for perjury. During the hearing, Deborah Gould, prosecuting, read out a victim impact statement in which the girl said her mother had “ditched” her in Pakistan.
She said she felt a “bad person” after it happened. And she urged other young women at risk of forced marriage to “say something to someone”. During the trial, the court heard that, following the breakdown of the relationship between her parents, the victim, now 19, had a troubled upbringing and, at one time, had been placed into a children’s home In 2012, when she was 13, she was taken by her mother to Pakistan and met her 29-year-old soon-to-be husband who made her pregnant. The pregnancy was terminated.
According to court hearing, in 2016 the defendant took her daughter to Pakistan again, telling her it was for a holiday and promising to buy her an iPhone. However when they got there, and after the victim had turned 18, her mother told her she was going to get married to the person who had impregnated her. The mother said her daughter had no choice, that the man was wealthy and threatened to burn her daughter’s passport if she did not go through with it as well as putting “bad spirits” in her. The victim raised the alarm by sending texts to her sister. The wedding took place on September 18 with video footage of it being heavily edited. The defendantre turned to the UK on October 21 without her daughter and when she appeared at a family court she lied claiming her daughter was not married.