UK man first to be jailed under British forced marriage laws

  • PTI, London
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2015 03:51 IST

A 34-year-old man on Wednesday became the first person in the UK to be jailed for 16 years following his conviction for forced marriage, a largely hidden practice prevalent in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced under the new forced marriages act after he admitted making a 25-year-old woman marry him under duress last year.

The already-married businessman also pleaded guilty to charges of rape, bigamy and voyeurism at Merthyr Crown Court in Wales. He was sentenced to four years for forced marriage, 12 months for bigamy and 12 months for voyeurism to run concurrently with the 16-year rape sentence.

The court heard the man became obsessed with the woman, a devout Muslim, and threatened to reveal videos he had secretly filmed of her in the shower and kill members of her family if she told anyone.

Judge Daniel Williams described the defendant as an "arrogant, manipulative and devious man". He had pleaded guilty on the second day of his trial, with the judge saying: "To the bitter end you sought to exert control over her, no doubt in the hope she would not go through with her allegations."

The judge said the offences began when the woman became engaged last year and in March 2014 he took her to his house under the pretence of having a meal with his wife.

"Your house was empty, you locked the front door and drew the curtains, you ignored her pleas to let her go and threw her mobile phone away and bound and gagged her with scarves belonging to your wife," he said.

"You tied her hands behind her back, she was bruised by the ties and she couldn't breathe. She almost passed out and then you raped her. "She was a virgin, something which you knew and something which you used to ensure her silence. You took her innocence to ensure her silence."

After the hearing, Det Supt Lian Penhale from South Wales Police praised the woman's "courage and strength" to come forward. Laws banning forced marriage in England and Wales were introduced last year.

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