A Turkish Cypriot father imprisoned for rape, has been forbidden from seeing his youngest child until she turns 18.
In P v D & Ors, the couple met in 1990 and were married in a London mosque two years later, with a civil ceremony the following year. Sitting at the High Court of Justice in London, Mr Justice Baker noted:
“The mother’s family were opposed to the relationship, and the mother has had little or no contact with them ever since. Instead, she formed a close relationship with the father’s parents.”
For the first 16 years of the marriage, life was relatively happy, the judge continued. The couple had three children, all girls, and the father was involved with them while younger but became more detached as they grew up.
From 2007 onwards, the father began to spend longer periods in Cyprus on business and the relationship began to deteriorate. The following year the father reportedly raped the mother after an argument during which he claimed she had been unfaithful. He denied the claim.
The mother and daughters left the family home for a week, but when they returned, he continued to assault and rape the mother on a regular basis, according to the judgement. The mother said she was too frightened to tell anyone. Some of the assaults were reportedly overheard by the children.
The father also exerted “stringent control” over the family’s lives.
Later, the father is reported to have assaulted one of his daughters, ‘X’, because she had been in contact with a boy, but the father also denied that incident. Another daughter, ‘Y’, twice took an overdose. The father reportedly began to display paranoid behaviour and cut off his second daughter’s hair as punishment for her behaviour.
Y finally eventually complained about the father’s behaviour, prompting social services to launch an investigation. Both the police and social workers visited the family at home, with the latter concluding that the father may have been psychotic.
The mother and daughters went into hiding, living in a succession of safe homes to escape the father. Mr Justice Baker noted:
“On more than one occasion, the family moved again at very short notice when it emerged, or was feared, that their location had been discovered.”
The mother launched legal proceedings in the family court, seeking injunctions and legal orders which would prevent the father from having any contact with the family and limiting his parental responsibility (legal rights as a parent).
Around the same time, the father was arrested and charged with multiple counts of rape. He was convicted and sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.
Despite this, the father resisted the mother’s family court applications.
Her application came before the court earlier this year. The father, by then imprisoned, acted as a litigant in person, and this posed significant logistical and organisational challenges for the court. Documentation had to be translated into Turkish and he also had to be given an opportunity to cross-examine the mother and daughters, who sat behind a screen. They had given evidence at the Crown Court case just months earlier.
Mr Justice Baker said:
“Despite these considerable difficulties, I am satisfied that all parties received a fair trial. Much of the credit for this is due to the hard work and professionalism of all of the lawyers…”
The family has been “broken apart” by the allegations of “extreme violence” perpetuated by the father, said the judge. Despite his imprisonment, the father was determined and the family were still at risk, declared the judge.
He judge considered the father’s history of violence towards the two older children, saying the wide range of injunctions sought by the mother were “wholly justified”. In addition, a severe ‘prohibited steps’ was issued in relation to Z, the youngest child, banning him from exercising any parental responsibility for her.
“I conclude that Z’s welfare demands that the father should not exercise parental responsibility for her. Z has suffered very considerable emotional harm as a result of his conduct. She is likely to suffer further significant emotional harm were the father in a position to exercise parental responsibility and thereby perpetuate the strife and anxiety resulting from his ongoing involvement with the family. The father has no insight, and has not demonstrated the slightest evidence of any understanding of the impact of his behaviour on the rest of the family.”
The order would last until Z, currently 11 years of age, turned 18.
Read the full judgement here.