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‘My monster parents tried to make me wed cousin’

A FATHER and mother described as ‘monsters’ by a daughter they threatened to kill if she did not agree to a forced marriage have been jailed.

The woman, then 18, had to be rescued from a remote village in Bangladesh in a dramatic operation by the British High Commission involving armed police.

She was born in Britain, had a western life in Leeds and was hoping to go to university. Her family, who cannot be named, said they were taking her on holiday when, in fact, they planned for her to marry a first cousin.

In an impact statement read to Leeds crown court, the woman, who is now 20, said she has had to assume a new identity and lives in hiding from her family.

She said: ‘I was betrayed by the two people who are supposed to protect, love and keep you safe.

‘I know I will always have to remain cautious but, knowing those monsters are going to be in prison, I feel the uttermost freedom in my heart.

‘I want other girls to know that forcing someone to marry is wrong. I want my elders to know that it is illegal and you can’t treat family like this. I want to be able to hold my head high knowing that I stood up for what is right. I will not live in shame. I am now free.’

The court heard how her father hit her when she refused to marry. He also said he would ‘chop her up in 18 seconds’, one for each year of her life.

The woman managed to alert her boyfriend in the UK. Judge Simon Phillips QC said her ‘terror and distress is palpable’ on messages she left on his phone.

The British High Commission got her out of the village using armed escorts.

She returned to the UK in what the judge called ‘a state of destitution and complete abandonment’ and was billed £1,000 for her flight — which she was told to pay in £5 instalments. The judge awarded her more than £8,000, earmarked by her parents for the wedding.

He yesterday jailed the father for four-and-a-half years and his wife for three-and-a-half years. They were found guilty earlier of forced marriage and using violence, threats or coercion.