A Labour MP allegedly rang police and fled her dwelling when her brother informed her she was possessed after she married a person her household disliked, a courtroom heard at this time as she denied conning an area council out of £64,000 in housing advantages to ‘dishonestly’ acquire a studio flat.
Apsana Begum, 31, who’s on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom, wept as she informed jurors she went to a police station on Could 21, 2013 out of worry she might change into the sufferer of honour-based violence after her brother adopted her to work.
On the identical day, the Poplar and Limehouse MP – who gained the east London seat with a 28,904 majority within the basic election in December 2019 – mentioned an argument erupted at her household dwelling in east London when her brother locked her in the lounge.
She mentioned: ‘He informed me he wished me to see an imam as a result of I wasn’t registering their concern about (her accomplice) Ehtashamul (Haque). He thought I used to be possessed and mentioned he wished me to get checked.
‘I refused and mentioned I am not beneath a spell, that is my alternative and I simply wished them to help me. However he began reciting the Koran. He had his hand over my head. I began shouting for my mum however she wasn’t responding.
‘I did not know what was going to occur subsequent. I assumed he would possibly beat me up.’
Begum mentioned she managed to name 999 and when officers arrived she fled with solely her purse. A courtroom clerk handed Begum tissues as she mentioned she needed to gather her belongings which her household had positioned in black bin luggage exterior their home on Woodstock Terrace.
Giving proof at this time sporting a white shirt and gray scarf, Begum informed the jury her Bangladeshi-heritage household disapproved of her relationship with Mr Haque, who’s now a Tower Hamlets councillor.
Begum met Mr Haque whereas doing a neighborhood management post-graduate diploma. He was seven years older and had been married twice earlier than, and her household didn’t see him as an acceptable match for her.
She denies three counts of housing fraud for allegedly withholding details about her residing circumstances to leap the queue for a council home between January 2013 and March 2016.
Tower Hamlets Council, which is bringing the prosecution, alleged it price the native authority £63,928.
Apsana Begum, 31, claimed she was residing in ‘overcrowded situations’ along with her household when she was in actual fact in a four-bedroom home with three different individuals, jurors have been informed
Begum is accused of not notifying the council that she was now not residing in overcrowded lodging – as she claimed when she utilized for social housing – after she moved in with Mr Haque.
She claims she rang the council to inform it for council tax functions and believed it could share the knowledge. She mentioned it was a interval of ‘turmoil’ because of the breakdown of her relationship along with her household and having misplaced her father months earlier than.
Begum additionally claims Mr Haque was ‘controlling and coercive’ and had taken over her ‘issues and affairs’. ‘We had began a brand new life collectively – it wasn’t simple however it’s what we had chosen. He mentioned he would inform everybody,’ she added.
Throughout an interview with the council’s fraud investigations crew on January 21 2020, a transcript of which was learn out in courtroom, she mentioned: ‘I used to be going via quite a lot of turmoil on the time, escaping from an abusive scenario and afterward realising he (Mr Haque) was very, very abusive.
‘He informed me he was dealing with my issues and affairs. He had my particulars, financial institution particulars, he was making transfers and all that.’
In response to proof that her account had been making bids for homes whereas she was recognized to be residing with Mr Haque, she denied making the bids and mentioned: ‘I am shocked to see these information.’
Requested if the bids might have been made by Mr Haque, Begum mentioned: ‘It will need to have been him. He had entry to the accounts.’
Final week, Begum’s defence lawyer Helen Legislation mentioned investigators did not ‘be part of the dots’, together with that the criticism about her purposes in 2019 was made by a relative of Mr Haque, Sayed Nahid Uddin.
She mentioned she cut up with Mr Haque after he cheated on her in mid-2016. She added that she had additionally change into involved that he had a ingesting drawback. In November 2016, Begum known as police to report that Mr Haque had been following her from her office in his automotive, after consistently calling and texting her.
The prosecution says Begum tried to achieve social housing at first by claiming she lived in an overcrowded three-bedroom home along with her household and didn’t have a bed room of her personal, which made her the next precedence within the queue.
Nonetheless, based on a social housing utility made in 2009 by Begum’s aunt, the home had 4 bedrooms. Begum insists there have been solely three when she lived there.
Prosecutor James Marsland claimed she ‘will need to have had a very good understanding of the social housing system and the way it operated’ as a result of she labored for Tower Hamlets Houses (THH), a public organisation working with the council to rearrange social housing, between October 28, 2013 and August 3, 2016.
Jurors heard Begum left her household dwelling in Poplar in 2013 due to a dispute over her accomplice being a divorcee, and felt she was beneath risk from her brother. Pictured: Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom, the place the trial continues
Studying out the agreed information of the case at Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom, James Marsland, prosecuting, mentioned Begum thought ‘her household did not like Mr Haque as a result of he was divorced’ and was ‘discovering the scenario… annoying’.
‘Her brother was conscious that she had taken her passport and wrongly thought she had taken it to run away.
‘She was requested [by the police] if she was at hazard of honour-based violence. She was feeling a bit nervous. Of their threat evaluation, the police seen that her brother was utilizing controlling behaviour.’
In an interview transcript learn to the courtroom, Begum mentioned she had been going via ‘quite a lot of turmoil’ and was ‘escaping an abusive scenario’ after leaving her household dwelling in Poplar.
‘Primarily it was a scenario the place there was honour based mostly abuse,’ she mentioned. ‘I left with police help. I did go to my accomplice’s handle, however he informed me there was any individual there. I went to his sister’s handle. I stayed between each locations for about two weeks. I moved in and I knowledgeable the council.’
Begum mentioned her husband informed her he had additionally knowledgeable the council of her relocation.
‘He mentioned he did the identical as nicely,’ she mentioned. ‘He was very a lot answerable for my affairs on the time. From the second I had met him.
‘He had my particulars, he had my financial institution particulars, he was making monetary transactions. I had a really, very tough life. He was very, very abusive, controlling. He had an issue with alcohol.
‘His household have been very intrusive. They’d present up and attempt to make modifications, intrude. I used to be very afraid of him. I had had these difficulties with my household.’
Begum mentioned she thought she would ‘find yourself being in violent conditions.’ She additionally informed investigators she later returned to her household dwelling in November 2015 to flee the harassment she confronted from her husband.
‘I simply bear in mind fleeing from him, fleeing from my scenario which was actually, actually dangerous with him,’ she mentioned. She was awarded the one-bedroom studio flat in March 2016.
‘Police heard that Mr Haque was following her,’ Mr Marsland informed the courtroom. ‘[He] was consistently calling and texting her. She confirmed the messages to the police. On 21 April 2016, Ehtasham Haque was contacted by the police and was given a written harassment warning and informed to cease harassing Apsana Begum.’
Begum was certainly one of 26 new Labour MPs elected in 2019, successful her seat with a majority of almost 30,000.
A supporter of former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum, she has spoken in Parliament in regards to the influence of coronavirus on ethnic minorities and sits on the Commons training committee.
She can be notable for being the chair of an all-party committee on home abuse and violence and has spoken within the Home of Commons about being a survivor.
Begum denies fraud and the trial continues.