Turkish police threat to child bride's mother


The bizarre tale of 13-year-old child bride Sarah Cook, who married a teenage Turkish waiter and whose parents then sold her story to the Sun, became even more curious as events unfolded yesterday.

First, Sarah was forced to undergo a "virginity test" at a Turkish hospital and the results reported to a waiting media. Then her 18-year-old husband, Musa Komeagae, was charged with statutory rape and kidnap and could face up to five years in prison.

Finally,Turkish prosecutors threw the spotlight on Sarah's 37-year-old mother, Jackie. Officials in the town of Kahramanmaras, south-east Turkey, told the Independent last night that they may charge Mrs Cook with encouraging Musa to commit the offence against her daughter. The news came as the full consequences of the Cooks' decision to allow Sarah to marry at 13 came home to roost with startling fury.

While back in England Mrs Cook and her husband Adrian, 42, of Braintree in Essex, were summoned to a meeting with the area's child protection unit - and while Sarah was telling journalists she planned to have a baby by the time she was 14 - the Turkish prosecutors made their announcement .

One prosecutor, who refused to be identified, said: "We are considering pressing charges against the mother, because her encouragement is a criminal offence."

Referring to a religious ceremony in which the couple took part two weeks ago, the prosecutor continued: "Sarah and Musa are not properly married, neither in Turkish law, nor by Islamic law. They have not had a proper Imam Nikah wedding [religious ceremony]. There was no Imam who performed it. We have arrested the boy. He will stay here until the trial starts, possibly tomorrow."

He said Musa, who was picked up by police early yesterday, faced charges of "breaking the girl's virginity", running away with a girl of under 15 and kidnap. "It doesn't matter whether she agreed to the relationship or not: this is statutory rape in Turkey as in England," he said. "The boy may be released when the case starts in the serious crimes court, especially if the two have a proper Imam Nikah wedding and the families show their agreement."

There was no response from the Cooks last night. They have been paid more than pounds 20,000 by the Sun for their story and have been insisting through its pages that they have done the right thing by their daughter.

The Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Mr Cook had approached it and claimed he had been offered pounds 20,000 for the story. He is reported to have said: "If you can top that, you can have it." Meanwhile, Sarah was quoted in the Sun as saying of her marriage: "We were both virgins when we had sex for the first time.

"Now we can't keep our hands off each other and sleep together all the time. Sometimes at night, when we have to share a room with Musa's brother and sister, we wait until they are fast asleep before jumping all over each other."

Sarah, a pupil at Tabor High School in Braintree, met Musa while on holiday in Alanya when she was only 12. Two weeks ago, the Cooks flew to Turkey and gave their blessing to the "marriage".

Last night, with Musa being held in prison, Sarah was clearly unhappy. She is living in a basement flat with Musa's family in a run-down part of town. She is said to be receiving no education and is expected to do chores from 8am until 5pm.

Trudie Pak, the British vice-consul in Ankara, spoke to Sarah twice yesterday and said she was "fine" but had been upset after speaking to her mother on the telephone.

"Sarah was medically examined at a local hospital to establish that sexual intercourse had taken place, otherwise no offence would have taken place," she said.

Last night, Mr and Mrs Cook were reported to be en route to see Sarah in Turkey.

Couples have to be 18 before they can marry in Turkey. With parental consent, the age limit can be dropped to 17 for boys and 15 for girls. With parental consent and a special dispensation from a judge, girls can be married at 14, but there is no provision for a marriage at 13.

Yesterday, before Musa was arrested, the Turkish national channel ATV showed pictures of the couple posing for the media. Sarah said defiantly: "We are very happy and I love him very much." Afterwards, she was taken to hospital for her virginity test, the results of which were read out to journalists while Sarah sat with her head bowed.

Describing the incident to Turks nation-wide, ATV's anchorman, Ali Kirca, said: "Sarah was submitted to a test that has caused so much anguish and so many suicides among young girls."

Suggested Topics
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style