‘Parents’ plot to get girl into marriage’: Threats to ‘chop her into pieces’ if she disobeyed father, jury told

Leeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

A couple lured their teenage daughter to a sham family holiday to force her to marry her cousin, a court was told.

The father of the victim - who cannot be named for legal reasons - also threatened to “chop her into pieces” when she refused the marriage in 2016, a jury at Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday.

The trial was told that the complainant, now 19, was taken out of her school in Leeds during term time, for what she was told was a family holiday to visit relatives in Bangladesh. Her parents appeared in the dock yesterday, flanked by a Bengali interpreter.

Addressing the jury, prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC said that less than one week after arriving in the country, she was told of the marriage plans.

“So very, very quickly this was going to take place,” she said.

“She was stunned and she refused.

“He told her that [the groom] had been chosen for her, that he was suitable and talked of the plan.

“When she refused, she sought out the support of the other defendant, her mother, who made it clear that this was a shared plan for her future. Her mother swore at her, reminded her that no was not an option and that if necessary there would be violence against her.

“Her mother swore at her reminded her that no was not an option and that if necessary there would be violence against her. She was later to encourage her husband to strike her.

“At no point did she agree to the proposal and very quickly an impasse developed between them.”

The victim had a boyfriend in Leeds at the time.

The court heard that once their daughter refused, her parents took her phone from her and after initially trying “to be kind and persuasive”, her father soon resorted to threats.

Ms Colborne said: “He would ask her for instance if she’d changed her mind yet and threatened to slit her throat if she didn’t comply.”

“She stopped eating and was deeply distressed

“He made reference to the fact that he’d brought her up for 18 years with love, but that he’d chop her up in 18 seconds if she disrespected him.”

The court was told that the woman was eventually rescued by authorities, after secretly contacting her boyfriend in the UK.

Giving evidence in the first day of the trial, he told the court how the pair had planned a future together.

“I thought they were going to Bangladesh to visit family.

“As far as I was concerned, they were just going to see family because they had not been for such a long time.”

The jury was played a series of voice clips and shown messages, which were sent from the complainant’s phone to her boyfriend in desperation after she learned of her parents’s marriage plan.

“They deceived me,” one of her text messages to her boyfriend said.

In one of the voice clips, she said: “I don’t know what to do.”

The trial continues tomorrow.