“And according to Khaleda — who today, having escaped ‘the marriage from hell,’ lives in hiding with her British partner, Phil — she is far from alone.
“She says: ‘Virtually every Asian girl I have ever met has an arranged marriage and the vast majority of them are to their cousins.
“‘It is well known within the community that such marriages do produce deformed babies.
“‘After the ceremony I sat on a bed in his home that was decorated with petals for our wedding night. Haram locked the door and began to touch my face and take my jewellery off. His hands made me feel nauseous.
“I kept brushing them away, repeating “no.” Tears rolled down my cheeks and, even now, I cannot talk of that night as it totally disgusts me.”
“Sometimes I just sit and cry and I’ve since been prescribed anti-depressants by my GP.
“‘I feel so guilty at the shame I know my family has suffered and not a day goes by when I don’t wonder how my mother is. I miss them so much.
“‘Even as a Muslim I have no idea why families want to intermarry like this. I can only think it is to keep wealth within the family. But unless this practice is outlawed, more young Muslim women like me will have their lives ruined.'”