Jail for Leicester 'honour' attack

03/12/2014

A Leicester man has been jailed for a potentially life threatening attack upon a young couple. Bharat Soma was convicted of two counts of Attempted Murder at Leicester Crown Court yesterday and today sentenced to 23 years in prison. CPS East Midlands Chief Crown Prosecutor Steve Chappell described it as a case of 'so-called honour based violence'.

Soma attacked the young couple in Evington on a Sunday afternoon in January of this year. The couple had fled to Leicester from London to escape the arranged marriage of the young woman to Soma. Her parents had arranged the marriage to Soma against her wishes and without her consent. Soma was informed of their presence in Leicester by a family friend. He immediately purchased a paring knife and stalked them through the streets of Leicester before attacking them from behind. The younger brother of the male victim was also seriously injured during the attack.

At the same trial, the young womans father, Narotam Deugi, was convicted of common assault for putting his hands around his daughters throat prior to her escape from the family home. Deugi was acquitted by the jury of further allegations of kidnapping and false imprisonment. He received a conditional discharge for the assault, having already served over three months on remand. Four other defendants were acquitted by the jury of related allegations.

Steve Chappell, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS East Midlands said "Bharat Soma subjected his victims to a shocking attack in broad daylight. He fully intended to kill them and it is only due to the swift and decisive actions of the Police officers, who attended the scene and administered life saving first aid, that he failed and that the victims are still alive today.

"Soma tried to defend his actions in court by claiming that he was not in control of his actions due to a curse that had been placed upon him, but expert witnesses testified that he was in full control of his actions. He had been looking for the victims and when he found them he carried out this attack after purchasing a knife from a local shop. Both victims suffered extremely serious injuries and have been left traumatised by the ordeal.

"There is no justification for these cases of so called honour based violence. The victims had done absolutely nothing to warrant being attacked. There is no honour involved in this kind of incident -  just violence. Bharat Soma acted as he did because a young woman had refused to marry him. Today he has faced the consequences of his actions.

"Honour based violence and forced marriage are ultimately about men policing the behaviour of women. This can include a womans choice of partner, as in todays case. Honour based violence often involves long-standing cultural beliefs and as such can be difficult to prosecute. But the CPS will not shy away from tackling this crime. It is a fundamental abuse of human rights and should not be tolerated in any civilised society."