34-year-old from Cardiff subjected victim to years of abuse, systematic rape and blackmail involving hidden camera footage.
A businessman has become the first person in the UK to be jailed under forced marriage laws introduced a year ago.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Wednesday after making a 25-year-old woman marry him under duress last year.
The man, who was already married, “systematically” raped his victim for months, threatened to go public with hidden camera footage of her in the shower unless she became his wife, and threatened to kill members of her family if she told anyone of the abuse.
The 34-year-old developed an “irrational obsession” with his victim and lured her to his home under the promise of a get-together with friends, Merthyr crown court heard.
When she arrived at his home in Cardiff, the woman found the property empty before the curtains were drawn and the front door locked. The victim, a devout Muslim, was bound and gagged with scarves before music was played loudly to drown out her cries for help.
She was later shown secret footage of her showering and her attacker said he would make the video public unless she married him. The man admitted four counts of rape, forced marriage, bigamy and voyeurism.
Judge Daniel Williams said he used constant threats to keep his victim quiet. “When you first raped her, she was still a virgin – something which you would use to ensure her silence,” he said.
“After you had raped her, you produced a laptop, which had a video of her showering after you had installed a hidden camera in a towel rail. You threatened that if she disclosed the rape to anyone, you would make that video public.
“You made her feel that she was no longer marriage material [for anyone else] in the hope that she would turn to you.”
The court heard that after months of raping the woman, the man turned up at her work and drove her to a mosque to get married. “She was told that if she did not submit to your demands, her parents would be killed,” added Williams.
The court heard that the man had preyed on his victim for years and even managed to convince her that a then-boyfriend of hers was gay after he set up a fake Facebook page.
The judge also described the man’s attempts to have his case thrown out by changing his plea several times as an “exercise of control” over the woman, in the hope that she would drop the case.
The trial ended on the second day, after the man pleaded guilty just before the victim was due to give evidence.
Williams told the man he is a high risk to women, adding: “While you have pleaded guilty … there has been no genuine show of remorse. “Over the period of which you raped her … it was your intention to cause her irreparable harm so that no one would want her.”
The man was also given an extended licence for five years on top of his jail sentence. He will remain on the sex offender register for “an indefinite period”.
Williams praised the victim’s bravery in coming forward, saying: “She has continued to show courage and fortitude … and the court wishes her good fortune for the future – which she so richly deserves.”
Forced marriage was criminalised under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into force last June.
Iwan Jenkins, head of Crown Prosecution Wales’ rape and serious sexual offences unit, said: “Forced marriage wrecks lives and destroys families. We hope that today’s sentence sends a strong message that forced marriage will not be tolerated in today’s Britain.
“The victim has shown great courage and bravery in reporting these matters. This conviction illustrates the seriousness with which these crimes are treated and investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service and South Wales Police.
“I hope today’s sentence brings some closure for those who have suffered as a result of these particularly nasty and invasive crimes.”
DS Lian Penhale, of South Wales police, described the case as a legal milestone. “I hope that today’s sentencing will act as a catalyst to empower victims and those at risk to come forward and enable the police and our partners to give them the support they need to ensure they’re free from this criminal activity – and to bring the offenders to justice,” she said.
“We know that victims and witnesses will be concerned, and therefore we want victims and those at risk to know that allegations will be treated in the strictest confidence and in a safe and sensitive manner. We also understand and recognise that victims [and] those at risk may not want to demonise or otherwise criminalise their families, community or faith group.
“Our priority is to keep victims, and those at risk, safe. South Wales police are committed to protecting and upholding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all. If anyone is worried about the threat of a forced marriage they should contact the police, the UK forced marriage unit or one of the specialist agencies that support victims and potential victims of forced marriage.”