A mother who forced her teenage daughter to marry an older man in Pakistan has been jailed for four and a half years.
In a legal first in England and Wales, the woman, who cannot be identified, was convicted of practising to deceive the victim.
The victim was 17 when she was duped into travelling to Pakistan for what she believed was a family holiday.
But after the family arrived, she was married to a 33-year-old male relative. Years earlier, when the girl was just 13, the same man took her virginity after they were entered into a ‘marriage contract’, and she became pregnant.
She had to have an abortion when she returned to the UK, leading to her GP reporting concerns to social services.
Judge Patrick Thomas QC, sentencing, told the mother: ‘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. ‘Her courage and respect for the truth throughout these proceedings have been admirable, and are a marked contrast to your own cowardice and deceit, continuing right through this trial and no doubt hereafter. ‘You have sought to blame her for everything, and yourself have accepted responsibility for nothing.’
The mother was found guilty of deceiving the victim to go to Pakistan in order to enter into a false marriage, forced marriage and perjury, following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Following the conviction, 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.’