Concern grows over bride, aged 13 - News - The Independent

Concern grows over bride, aged 13

CLARE GARNER

Turkish embassy officials said the marriage of a 13-year-old girl who dropped out of school to marry a Turkish waiter she met on a family holiday was illegal. The girl's 18-year-old "husband" could now face prosecution for having "under age" sex with her.

The official said couples could not normally marry until they were 18. With parental consent, the age limit was 17 for boys and 15 for girls.

In "very extraordinary cases", and with a judge's permission, girls could marry at 14 and have sex below the normal age of consent, which was 18. But Sarah was too young for such a ruling and her "husband" could be charged with having sex with a girl under the legal age.

Concern for the girl's welfare was growing last night, as her parents stood by their daughter's decision.

Sarah Cook, from Braintree, Essex, fell for Musa Kumeagae, 18, when she was just 12. She underwent a Turkish religious marriage ceremony attended by her parents, Adrian, 42, and Jackie, 39, two weeks ago. She is now living in Kahramanmaras, a remote town in south- eastern Turkey.

Last night she was reported to be looking forward to becoming pregnant: "We plan to start a family very soon. I really want a baby."

Essex social services have asked Sarah's parents to discuss the situation at a meeting today. Colin Davis, a social services spokesman, said: "That's all we can hope to do. The Foreign Office has advised us that while Sarah is in Turkey there is nothing we can do because she is there with parental consent. That's the situation we are faced with."

Richard Snelling, headmaster of Tabor High School, in Braintree, which Sarah used to attend, said yesterday: "We are talking about a very young girl. She's only just 13. She has four years of education ahead of her in England, so it's a real concern." He stressed that the 850-pupil school would welcome Sarah back at the first opportunity. "We would very much like that to happen but it doesn't look very likely at the moment," he added.

Mr Snelling became worried about Sarah last November when she failed to return to school after spending half-term in Turkey. "We alerted the education welfare office and, in turn, the social services, and they then took the issue up and dealt with the parents. From that point, Sarah did not come back to school," he said.

Sarah was taken off the school roll by the local education authority after her parents said she would receive schooling abroad. But Mr Snelling said yesterday he believed she was not being taught in Turkey.

Mr Kumeagae reportedly worked as a waiter in the hotel in where the family stayed last summer. He is believed to have proposed to Sarah while she was still 12, after a three-day fling in the Mediterranean resort of Elanya.

Mrs Cook told the Sun newspaper that she and her husband had been powerless to stop their "strong-willed" daughter falling in love. "I don't care what people think about her marrying - because she is loved and happy," she reportedly said. "If I hadn't taken her back to Turkey she would have found a way to get there herself - and we might have lost our little girl forever."

A spokesman for Essex police confirmed that they were holding a meeting later in the week to decide if any offences had been committed. "Obviously we are looking at under-age sex," he said. "But these offences took place in Turkey so are effectively out of our jurisdiction. We've got the other issue of a 13-year-old not attending school. There is a legal requirement for a child to attend school unless the parents can prove that adequate educational provision is being provided elsewhere."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week