A couple marched their 18-year-old daughter to the doctor for a ‘virginity check’ and warned her secret boyfriend they were ‘dangerous’ because they were Muslim, a court heard.
Iranian parents Mitra Eidiani, 42, and Ali Safaraei, 56, who live in south London, are also alleged to have threatened to kill their daughter Sophia Safaraei and her boyfriend, with Ms Eidiani saying: ‘You have seen what our people do on the news.’
In a statement read to Kingston Crown Court today, Doctor Helen Lewis said that Ms Mitra had responded to her refusal to carry out the check by telling her she did not understand her and Mr Safaraei’s culture.
‘Sophia said she didn’t want to be examined by anyone,’ the statement read.
‘I explained to Sophia I could not even touch her without her permission and I would not examine her unless she consented to this.
‘Mitra voiced unhappiness with this. She said I didn’t understand her culture and then called Sophia’s father, Ali Sarafaei, who was waiting outside.
‘She told me he was strict, not liberal like her, and would insist on me performing a virginity test.’
Doctor Lewis said the Ms Eidiani then drew unfavourable comparisons between her family’s culture and ‘your’ culture (referring to the UK) as Mr Safaraei threatened to go to the police while Sophia appeared tearful.
The jury heard Sophia told police she was from a ‘strict Muslim family’, but defending Eidiani, John Skinner said that ‘was not really true’.
Sophia said ‘it was more of their upbringing than mine’, adding: ‘There’s more of the culture than religion’.
The mother allegedly later bit her daughter and the father is accused of threatening Sophia with a kitchen knife after returning from the doctor.
Sophia was also told she would be sent ‘back to Iran to marry a cousin,’ jurors heard.
The parents found out college student Sophia was in a relationship with her workmate Bailey Marshall-Telfer, 18, when the pair were caught meeting secretly at her home.
The couple then visited Mr Marshall-Telfer at work, where Eidiani suggested ‘that they, as Muslim people, were dangerous’, the court was told.
David Povall, prosecuting, said Eidiani came home unexpectedly while Mr Marshall-Telfer was at their house in Wandsworth, south London.
He initially tried to climb from a bathroom window but she discovered some of his belongings, including a pair of headphones, the jury heard.
Mr Marshall-Telfer told Kingston Crown Court he was confronted by the pair at Sports Direct – where he first met workmate Sophia, 18 – the day after the relationship was found out.
He said Eidiani told him: ‘Don’t come near my daughter again. I don’t want you communicating with her or anything like that.’
Mr Marshall-Telfer added: ‘She was like, “how can she be with someone like you?”
‘She went on to say that she is a Muslim and her husband is a Muslim and “you have seen what our people do on the news and stuff, we’re dangerous people, be careful”.’
Asked by prosecutor David Povall what else Eidiani said, he added: ‘That her husband was more angry than she was and he was going to kill me and that there would be a shadow around me and they might come back the next day with someone else.
‘I was really quite scared, nervous, it shook me a bit when I was trying to do my job. I believe I was just saying ‘alright’ most of the time because I was not trying to do anything to make her more angry or say anything else or create a scene in the store.’
Mr Marshall-Telfer, who began a relationship with Sophia in January 2018, said Sarafaei then arrived ten to fifteen minutes later and repeated the threats.
He said: ‘He came up to me and was like, was I the one that was in his house? I was like yes, I made a big mistake and I apologise. He didn’t really address the apology.
‘He just kept asking me what had happened in there and that he had CCTV in his house just to, I guess, play mind games so I would say what happened.
‘He said he was going to keep coming back and at the right place and at the right time that he would kill me.’
Mr Marshall-Telfer was caught at Sophia’s house days earlier when her mother came home unexpectedly, the jury heard.
He claims he was forced to clamber out of a bathroom window in a bid to flee, but was caught out because he left belongings in the house.
He said after the incident, Sophia also sent him a message about her parents forcing her to have a ‘virginity test’ at a GP clinic.
The message said ‘that her parents were trying to get her examined at the GP and that they were going to get her to tell lies to get me in trouble’, he said.
Mr Povall asked: ‘Do you remember what lies?’ Mr Marshall-Telfer said: ‘I think it was along the lines of rape.’
Eidiani wept as Sophia told the jury: ‘We panicked because we didn’t expect it to happen so I had no choice but to tell him to go on the roof.
‘We were both scared, we didn’t know what to expect and obviously it would be a shock for my mum. She did tell him not to come back and we should not have contact anymore. She did break his headphones and Bailey was shocked when he saw them.’
Mr Povall said after Eidiani broke the headphones, she told Mr Marshall-Telfer: ‘That’s the least way I can cause you some harm’.
He added: ‘She shouted, she was threatening, she took a photograph of him and she insisted that he leave the house.’
Mr Povall said Sophia’s father then returned home after the boyfriend had left.
He added: ‘Sophia describes hearing from inside her room her mother begging her father, “please, don’t hurt her”.
‘But in any event, her father came up to the room shouting at her angrily, telling her that he would kill her and insisting that he and his wife should take Sophia to the doctor so that it could be checked whether she was still a virgin.’
Sophia told jurors: ‘I did get threatened – that if I didn’t go, stuff like I can get killed.
‘The doctor asked me the reason why I was in that day and I didn’t talk, I just told my mum, as they were the ones that wanted me to get checked. They said “if she wants to get checked she has to say herself”.’
Mr Povall added: ‘This led to Ali Safaraei coming into the consultation room himself in order to see if this could be made to happen.
‘The doctor was adamant, rightly, and in due course the family left without Sophia having been violated in this way.’
But when the family returned home from the doctor, her mum became ‘extremely angry’ and bit Sophia, the jury heard.
Mr Povall said: ‘She started to shout, she grabbed hold of Sophia’s arm and she bit her in the arm, leaving a distinctive bite mark on her forearm.
‘Both parents were pushing her around. Sophia said she was going to leave home and went up to her bedroom.
‘But her father came up, this time holding a knife from the kitchen and a pair of scissors.’
Speaking from behind a screen, Sophia told jurors: ‘My father then came into my room armed with a big kitchen knife and said you have to get checked. They were saying if I’m a virgin why can’t you prove it? What are you scared of?’
A photograph of a large yellow bruise on her forearm, allegedly caused by the bite, was shown to the jury.
In the following days, the parents made life ‘extremely unpleasant’ for Sophia and Mr Marshall-Telfer, Mr Povall said.
He said: ‘She was called a prostitute, her father threatened to kill both her and Bailey. She was told she was disowned, it was suggested she might be sent back to Iran to marry a cousin.’
On May 17 2018, Mr Marshall-Telfer was threatened by Eidiani while at work at a Sports Direct store near Clapham Junction, where he had met Sophia, the court heard.
The prosecutor added: ‘She made comments to him pointing out her religion, that she was Muslim, that her husband was Muslim and suggesting that they as Muslim people were dangerous, that he should be careful, that her husband was angry and wanted to kill him and that they would be back and she left.’
Safaraei then showed up and said ‘he was going to keep coming back and when the time and the place was right he would kill Bailey’, Mr Povall said.
Sophia reported the alleged abuse on May 18 at Wimbledon police station. Safaraei and Eidiani, both of Clapham, deny two counts of controlling or coercive behaviour and one count of making a threat to kill.
Eidiani also denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Eidiani pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage, related to the headphones, at an earlier hearing.
Parveen Mansoor, representing Safaraei, told the court he is not a Muslim and ‘would have been fine’ about his daughter having a boyfriend. The trial continues.