06:57, May 23 265 0 theguardian.com

2018-05-23 06:57:04
Birmingham woman jailed for over four years in forced marriage case

A woman from Birmingham has been jailed for four and a half years for duping her teenage daughter into travelling to Pakistan and forcing her to marry a man 16 years her senior.

The 45-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty on two counts of forced marriage and a third charge of perjury. The jury returned a not guilty verdict for a further charge of perverting the course of justice.

The defendant’s family listened to the judge’s remarks from the public gallery, but her daughter, whose evidence was crucial to securing the conviction, sat separately.

Before the sentencing, which was unusually attended by eight members of the jury, the prosecuting barrister read out the victim’s impact statement to the packed court. The daughter, now 19, described how she felt her mother had “ditched” her in Pakistan and her disbelief at how she had been treated.

She also used the statement to urge other young women at risk of forced marriage to ask for help and to “say something to someone”.

Christopher Gibbons, defending, said because this was only the second conviction for forced marriage in the UK he was finding it “very difficult” to advise the judge on what sentence he should pass. However he accepted his client would be receiving a custodial sentence.

The landmark case is the first conviction for forced marriage in England. It is the first time a victim has given evidence against her family in a trial for this type of offence.

During the trial, jurors heard how the woman had promised the troubled teenager a family holiday and bribed her with a smartphone.

But instead, after taking her to Pakistan, the woman told her daughter on her 18th birthday that she would marry a family relative by whom she had become pregnant on a previous visit in 2012 when she was 13 and he was 29.

Despite her daughter’s pleas that she did not want to marry the 34-year-old Pakistani national, the defendant planned the wedding day for later that month, on 18 September 2016.

Giving evidence, the defendant’s daughter had told Birmingham crown court how she had cried during the wedding and begged her mother not to send her home with the groom after being forced to sign marriage papers.

Her mother later abandoned her in Pakistan before lying under oath to a high court judge in the UK about what had happened.

Earlier in the trial, jurors were told how the mother had betrothed her daughter to her second husband’s nephew on a previous visit to Pakistan in 2012 before the girl fell pregnant.

After the trip the girl’s pregnancy was terminated and she was taken into the care of a children’s home.

Deborah Gould, prosecuting, told jurors the defendant had psychologically and emotionally manipulated her daughter – a vulnerable person with learning disabilities – who craved the affection of her parents and wanted nothing more than the love and approval of her mother.