Man jailed after force’s first ever forced marriage conviction
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A man who forced a woman into marriage and left her fearing for her life has been jailed.
Kulbir Singh Moroak wanted to stay in the UK, and hoped marriage would secure him a UK passport and visa.
Moroak subjected the victim to physical, verbal and emotional abuse for months, before forcing her into marriage.
It is the first ever forced marriage conviction secured by Bedfordshire Police, with Moroak being jailed for four years and six months on Friday (25 August).
In November last year, concerned friends contacted Bedfordshire Police to report the abuse, however the victim at the time feared that if she spoke out, she would be abused further.
The force’s specialist Emerald domestic abuse team remained in contact with her discretely and continued to provide support and guidance, until she felt ready to come forward herself.
This culminated in a situation where Moroak assaulted the woman and forced her to flee from officers, which led to her eventually opening up to police once he was arrested.
In her victim impact statement, she said: “Having the Bedfordshire Police arrest him on that day was relief for me as I knew then he can’t hurt me. I was fearing for my life, and I thought he was going to kill me.”
She added: “If I did not do this, he would have done this to someone else’s life.”
Moroak, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of forced marriage, coercive and controlling behaviour, three counts of common assault and two counts of intentional strangulation in June.
He was also handed a restraining order of 10 years during Friday’s hearing at Luton Crown Court.
His Honour Judge Alan Blake, sentencing Moroak, said messages sent from the victim to Moroak made it plain that she felt she had been exploited.
“She said that she did not wish to marry you, you were determined to do so to regularise your status; when asked why she felt she had no choice, she said because she had no one to turn to and the beatings Kulbir was doing,” said Judge Blake.
“The majority of the coercive and controlling behaviour in my judgment was the use of violence or the threat of violence.”
Detective Constable Chloe Plowman, who led the investigation, said: “The victim was left incredibly scared and alone, and I cannot commend her bravery enough for coming forward and speaking out in such difficult circumstances.
“She was under unimaginable psychological and emotional pressure not to speak to police, but we took the time to support her, waiting until she was ready to report what was happening to her.
“We know domestic abuse can often leave victims feeling vulnerable and scared to speak to anyone, including police, but please be assured that we will do everything we can to support you.
“When it comes to forced marriage, we recognise that it is extremely difficult to come forward. Often the victim will need to go against their family, friends and sometimes their community, and that it is not always easy to report.
“Whilst this sentencing is the first of its kind in Bedfordshire, we hope it demonstrates that your voice will be heard, it is never too late to come forward and report, and we will listen.
“There are a number of specialist trained officers who can support you through any criminal proceedings with respect and care, and we work with a number of partner organisations who can offer guidance and stepping stones to rebuilding your future.”