London

Kidnap accused family 'did not accept partner'

A Sikh woman whose family are alleged to have kidnapped her boyfriend so she would not marry him has said she knew they would not accept him.

Nursery nurse Paveet Landa, 20, ran away from her home in Ilford, east London, with Ramanjit Singh to avoid an arranged marriage.

She told police her family would not accept him as he was from a different caste and was from India.

Her father, mother and brother deny the charges at Isleworth Crown Court.

Ms Landa, who later married Mr Singh, said: "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.

"A child knows how their dad is and how everyone is in their family."

'No way out'

Ms Landa told jurors her family had arranged for her to marry another man, Vikram Shari.

"Obviously it was an introduction from my auntie but they all arranged it," she said.

"They all decided together; my mum, my dad and my grandmother."

Giving evidence through a translator and from behind a screen, Mr Singh said: "It was a mutual agreement with the two of us that we have no other way out. We have to run away from the house."

When prosecutor Ian McLoughlin asked him if he put pressure on her, he replied: "No, I didn't force her. I've never forced her."

He also said he wanted her to tell her family about him, but she refused.

Threat to kill

Ms Landa was set to marry Mr Shari but when the wedding was postponed after her grandfather's death she decided to elope.

After she ran away, her father Balvinder Singh, 42, mother Rani Landa, 42, and brother Lakhanpal Landa, 21, searched for Mr Singh, the court heard.

They found him at a Sikh temple in Southall where he was attempting to book the wedding the following day in August last year, jurors heard.

The court was told they decided to kidnap him, however he later broke free.

The following day, the trio joined other relatives to allegedly kidnap Ms Landa's friend Harjinder Singh at knifepoint in order to find out where she was.

Her other relatives, Hemat Landa, 40, Chamkh Singh, 42, Kamaljit Singh, 33, and a 16-year-old who cannot be named, are also charged with kidnapping Harjinder Singh.

Ms Landa's father has also been charged with making a threat to kill Harjinder Singh and unlawful possession of a knife.

The trial continues.

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