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Ilford woman’s family ‘kidnapped secret boyfriend’ when she tried to flee arranged marriage, court hears

14:21 24 January 2013

An Ilford woman’s family kidnapped her fiance the day before their planned wedding after she fled an arranged marriage, a court heard today.

Nursery nurse Paveet Landa, 20, ran away from her home with her secret boyfriend to avoid the marriage in August last year.

She told police she knew her family would not accept her boyfriend, Ramanjit Singh, because he was from a different caste, was from India and could not speak English.

She told the trial at Isleworth Crown Court: “I knew they weren’t going to accept him. As much as people say they aren’t going to rely on caste being a problem, I wouldn’t say that.

“I’ve grown up in that area and I know as their child what it’s going to be like. I knew that they weren’t going to accept Ramanjit.”

Ms Landa, who later married Ramanjit, said her Sikh family arranged for her to marry another man, Vikram Shari.

“Obviously it was an introduction from my auntie but they all arranged it,” she told the jury.

After she ran away from home, her father Balvinder Singh, mother Rani Landa and brother Lakhanpal searched for Mr Singh, finding him at a Sikh temple in Southall where he was attempting to book the wedding the following day.

The jury has heard they decided to imprison the man, who later broke free.

The following day the three family members joined other relatives to allegedly kidnap Ms Landa’s friend Harjinder Singh at knifepoint in a bid to find out where she was.

Balvinder Singh, 42, Rani Landa, 42, and Lakhanpal Landa, 21, are charged with falsely imprisoning Ramanjit Singh on August 30.

They have also been charged with kidnapping Harjinder Singh by force the following day.

Relatives Hemat Landa, 40, Chamkh Singh, 42, Kamaljit Singh, 33, and a 16-year-old who cannot be named face the same charge.

Balvinder Singh is also accused of making a threat to kill Harjinder Singh and unlawful possession of a knife.

All the defendants plead not guilty. The trial continues.

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