A Birmingham mother who forced her daughter to marry a cousin in Pakistan who was almost twice her age has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
The 40-year-old mother-of-four, who cannot be named to protect the safety of the victim, duped her daughter into travelling to Pakistan in 2016 promising to buy her an iPhone but then assaulted and forced her to marry a man twice her age.
The girl had become pregnant by the same man when she was 13-years-old on a previous visit to Pakistan, which her mother saw as a “marriage contract”.
During the sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Patrick Thomas QC slammed the mother and said she had “sold for her passport”.
Jurors had heard the daughter, now aged 19, was tricked by her mother into travelling to Pakistan by promising her she would by her an iPhone.
But once the girl arrived in Pakistan, the plan to marry her to the relative 16 years her senior was revealed, the girl protested.
Her mother then assaulted her and threatened to burn her passport if she did not go along with her evil plans.
Giving evidence during the trial, the girl told how wedding preparations went ahead despite her objections.
The daughter told the jury she was forced to marry her relative moments after cutting her 18th Birthday cake while on holiday in Pakistan.
She said: “They sang happy birthday, like it was normal, basically.”
“They made me sit down on a sofa and then they basically gave me Indian sweets.
“People just started putting money on me, but I didn’t really know what was going on.
“I started crying to my mum, saying ‘I don’t want to get married,’ but apparently it was organised before and she couldn’t do anything about it because her reputation would go down.
During the sentencing the Judge said: “It takes no imagination to understand the terror she must have felt.”
“You had cruelly deceived her. She was frightened, alone, held against her will, being forced into a marriage she dreaded.
“You must have known that was her state of mind. Yet for your own purposes, you drove the marriage through.”
Once the girl was back in the UK, concerns were raised by the authorities and the girl’s mother was summonsed to the High Court, and there lied on oath, stating that her daughter had not been married.
The daughter also claimed her mother said she would ‘send ghosts’ using ‘black magic’ if she spoke out about the forced marriage.
She was found guilty on two counts of forced marriage and a third charge of perjury.
It becomes the first time a forced marriage case of this kind has been successfully prosecuted in a criminal court in England.
A victim impact statement from the victim was read out in court by the prosecutor.
In it the girl said: ‘My mum ditched me, why didn’t she take me home?
‘I wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep, I felt totally alone. I thought if that is actually my mum, why would she do that to me? I wanted to feel love and affection but I felt that I was a bad person.’
She added: ‘I think about every other young girl, no-one owns up because they say ‘it’s my mum or dad’.
‘My message to other young girls is keep yourself safe. If you think your parents might do something, don’t do it, tell them to their face.’
The defendant, who was found guilty of two counts of forced marriage, and one count of perjury, was emotionless as she was sent to prison.
Judge Thomas told her: ‘You have sought to blame your daughter for everything, and yourself accepted responsibility for nothing.
‘I think it is highly likely that the reward for him entering into the marriage with your daughter was to be easier access to entry to this country.’
‘I have no doubt that you then arranged a marriage with the man, as you knew, had raped her when she was 13.’
Elaine Radway, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Forcing someone into marriage against their wishes is a criminal offence, and a breach of their human rights.
‘As this prosecution demonstrates, the CPS will work with partner agencies to identify and prosecute those who coerce, control, dominate or exploit a victim to force them into marriage.
‘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.’