13-year-old girl raped by ‘groom’ after her family calls off marriage (Dublin)
A 13-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped in a brutal bid to force her parents to honour an arranged marriage. But the Irish Independent has learned that the girl’s 16-year-old-rapist, who had been selected to become her husband, and her abductors may never face prosecution as her parents have accepted a €10,000 payment after an independent mediator brokered a deal between the two families.
In a case that highlights the complexities of applying Irish laws to those with different customs and traditions, the Roma family – who arranged their daughter’s marriage when she was just eight – no longer regard the incident as a rape despite the fact that the child’s husband-to-be has admitted to gardai that he had sex with the girl.
Details of the hush-money payment emerged one month after a coroner ruled that a British teenager who opposed her parents plan for an arranged marriage died after she was strangled or smothered. The 17-year-old had previously been admitted to hospital after drinking bleach when she was introduced to her suitor and no one has been charged in relation to her killing. It was believed that once the Roma girl’s “husband” had sex with her, regardless of her consent, she and her family would have to accept and honour the original arranged marriage agreement.
A file has been sent to the Director of Public prosecutions and several people have been questioned in connection with the kidnapping, but the row between the two families has been resolved by the €10,000 payment. The case may prove difficult to bring to court as the families came to a new agreement following intervention by a mediator who recently travelled from England to Ireland to broker a deal. Other youths employed to kidnap the girl have also been compensated for their role in the abduction.
“Some Roma have their own customs when dealing these type of issues,” said a senior gardai who is involved in the ongoing investigation. “In this case a mediator was brought in from England to broker an agreement between the two parties.”
The young girl was at the centre of a major garda search last September after she was abducted from Dublin’s Molesworth Street where she had been begging. The boy and girl were to be married when she was 13 but her family later reneged on the deal. They girl’s family were unhappy with the boy because he had started to get into a lot of trouble and they refused to let the wedding go ahead, but the boy’s family were outraged that the original marriage agreement had been dishonoured.
“They felt that once the arrangement had been made there was no going back on it and decided to proceed and force the girl into the marriage,” said the investigating gardai.
The 16-year-old’s father is suspected of having organised the abduction plot then left the country and went to Romania once all the plans were set in place. A number of youths, many of them already known to gardai, were tasked with taking the young girl who was bungled into a car and whisked to Rathmines. She was then transferred to a second car and taken to a disused building on the outskirts of Drogheda, but gardai received reports of the kidnapping and managed to piece together some of the gang’s movements. They also learned the name of one youth, who is in his late teens, and believed to have been involved.
Mobile phone tracing technology, similar to that used to track the movements of convicted wife murderer Joe O’Reilly, was used to help locate the kidnappers and intercept the gang. That led investigators to concentrate their search to Co Louth. In the meantime, gardai in the area also provided intelligence on the presence of a suspicious gang and alerted their Dublin colleagues. After a surveillance operation was set up, one of the gang members was spotted and followed to a disused building They had planned to keep the girl there where the teenage boy was to have sex with her. A raid was then carried out and the girl was found in a locked room with her so-called husband-to-be, the 16-year-old boy.