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Birmingham man jailed for trying to force niece into marriage

A Birmingham man who tried to force his niece into an arranged marriage and threatened her with a gun when she refused has been jailed for seven years.

The 55-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court. The man was convicted on 24 January at Birmingham Crown Court for attempting to force the victim, who was then an 18-year-old, into a forced marriage. Along with his 43-year-old wife, he was also found guilty of child neglect.

During a three-week trial, the court heard that the girl who was born in UK and raised by her uncle and aunt in Birmingham after her mother returned to Pakistan due to a visa issue, had been mistreated by the couple.

They treated her worse than a domestic servant, depriving her of food, clothing, hygiene, medical and dental care, and verbally, emotionally and physically demeaned, bullied and abused her which made the girl feel like 'a nobody'.

She was taken to Pakistan when she was 10 where she lived in abysmal conditions, later returning to the UK at age 14 to live with another family member in Birmingham where she enjoyed living and went on to complete her education and get a job.

In July 2016, the victim who also cannot be named for legal reasons, travelled to Pakistan to visit her mother who was unwell. When she arrived in Pakistan, her uncle seized her passport and kept her at his house where he tried to force her into an arranged marriage. When she tried to refuse, he threatened her with a gun and told her either to get married to a husband of his choosing or die.

She later found a way to escape thanks to a friend she made in Pakistan who smuggled a phone to her and she called the British Embassy for help. In September 2017, she was rescued and returned to the UK where a Forced Marriage Prevention Order (FMPO) was issued for her protection.

Her uncle was jailed for forced marriage and two counts of child cruelty while her aunt was given a one-year prison sentence, suspended for two years for child cruelty.

Lawrence English of the CPS said:

"I would like to commend the victim for her bravery and courage, which has not only helped to secure this conviction but gives hope to others who are being forced or coerced into a life they do not want. Forcing someone into marriage is a serious crime, and we will prosecute those responsible."

2/2/20