A man was handed a two year jail sentence today after becoming the first in England to be convicted of keeping his wife “in domestic servitude”.
In what the Crown Prosecution Service said was the first case of its kind in England, London’s Woolwich Crown Court heard that Safraz Ahmed, 34, imprisoned and beat his wife after an arranged marriage in Pakistan.
The mechanic from Charlton in southeast London forced his wife, Sumara Iram, to cook, clean and look after his mother from 5am to midnight every day after she moved to Britain in 2012.
He also slapped her in the face when she asked him to consummate their marriage, throwing tins of cat food at her head and covering her face with a cushion in other attacks.
Iram, 28, who had a master’s degree in Islamic Studies, was forbidden from leaving the house alone and took an overdose before eventually calling the emergency services in 2014, the court heard.
Sentencing Ahmed to two years in prison for holding a person in domestic servitude, Judge Christopher Hehir told him: “She was bullied and controlled by you, given little money and expected to cook, clean and look after your family as if she was a skivvy.
“She described your behaviour as physical and mental torture and in my judgement, she was right.”
Damaris Lakin, a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer who worked on the trial, said it was a “ground-breaking case which demonstrates how far we have come in tackling modern-day slavery”.
The couple is now divorced.