A British couple labeled "monsters" by their own daughter, who had to be rescued ahead of a forced marriage to her first cousin, will spend a combined eight years behind bars. A judge on Monday sentenced the father to 4.5 years and the mother to 3.5 years. Both were found guilty of forced marriage and one count of using violence, threats, or coercion to force their daughter into marriage after a 2016 trip to Bangladesh. Only once they arrived did their 18-year-old daughter learn her parents had arranged for her marriage. When she objected, her father hit her and threatened to "chop her up" as her mother encouraged him, the court heard, per the BBC. With help from her boyfriend back home, the woman was rescued from a remote village by armed police days before the wedding was to occur.
Though a defense lawyer argued the scheme was "born of deep-seated culture" rather than malice, the victim from Leeds, now 20 and living under a new name, wants "other girls to know that forcing someone to marry is wrong." She adds in a victim impact statement, "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." Meanwhile, a Leeds school is hoping to avoid similar abuses: Before the summer break, the Co-operative Academy of Leeds gave pupils spoons that could be hidden in their clothing to trigger airport metal detectors, per the Telegraph. Claiming 80% of the UK's forced marriages occur abroad during summer holidays, a school official said the spoons would "save lives." (Read more forced marriage stories.)