'Wicked' grandmother jailed over dowry dispute

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The Independent Online

A "wicked" grandmother and the two sons she ordered to kidnap and beat her estranged son-in-law over a £25,000 dowry dispute, have each been jailed for seven years.

Sufia Khatun, 70, decided violence was the only option after her daughter Momataz's marriage foundered within months and her repeated demands for the money were ignored.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard her youngest son Abu Jahinger, 26, first followed Abul Kalam to a branch of Barclays in East Ham.

No sooner had left than he approached his brother-in-law and warned he would be shot where he stood if he did not follow him to a nearby car.

Inside was Khatun's other son, Abu Hasnath, 40, who then drove their victim to the Bangladeshi family's home in nearby Roseberry Avenue.

The court heard the pair then took turns to rain blows on the defenceless man as their mother urged them on, ignoring his pleas for mercy.

He told the court that as one punch after another landed his attackers repeatedly warned "they were going to kill me either in the UK or in Bangladesh".

By the time the prolonged beating was finished he was covered in blood, his nose was broken and one of his eye sockets shattered.

Mr Kalam's brother was then rung, told what had happened and warned that unless the money was paid without further delay they would keep him prisoner.

After being held captive for eight hours Khatun was told her son-in-law's family had agreed to pay the £25,000.

A "terrified" Mr Kalam was then released. But members of his family waiting for him outside were so shocked by his condition they called the police.

The court heard he was taken to hospital, when a titanium plate was inserted in his skull to repair his badly broken eye socket.

Even 18 months after the attack he still suffered post traumatic stress disorder.

Khatun and her two sons, who had claimed their victim was the real aggressor, were each convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and blackmail on 20 May last year.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Beddoe told an impassive Khatun: "I find that you were the one who directed your sons to do what they have done.

"You were, in my judgment, the prime mover as far as these events are concerned.

"This was a wicked enterprise carried out for monetary gain, involving the false detention of another human being who with good reason thought he might lose his life that day."

He said while the violence meted out to Mr Kalam had been "quite gratuitous", none of them had "expressed any remorse for what happened".

All three were then led from the dock as relatives wept in the public gallery.