Aussie child bride's father happily married her off at 12

The story of the 12 year-old living as a married woman in NSW shocked everyone. Now the child’s father speaks out.

UPDATE: It has been revealed this morning that the father of the 12-year-old Australian child bride allowed his daughter to be married. The converted Muslim, whose daughter married a 26-year-old man, said he didn’t want to “stop her happiness” and that it was not his decision. However, he said the age difference was not an issue, News Corp reports.

The girl’s father was present when she married the Lebanese man at their family home in the Hunter Valley on January 12. Since the 26-year-old’s arrest on Thursday night, she has apparently been distraught.

“She was crying like I have never heard before, they were telling her she couldn’t see (the man) today or tomorrow or possibly forever…she’s being restrained against her will in foster care,” her father said. “There’s nothing I can do at the moment, I’ve got the feeling she might die because she’s so hurt by all of this.”

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How could this happen in Australia in 2014?

A 26-year-old man will face court in Sydney today, charged with multiple counts of sexual intercourse with his 12-year-old ‘wife’.

The pair were allegedly “married” in a religious ceremony in the Hunter region last month, having met in Wallsend, Newcastle in 2013. Police claim they have been living together in a house in Guildford, west of Sydney, in an ongoing sexual relationship.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse Squad arrested the man on Thursday. He was charged at Burwood Police Station with 25 separate counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 14, and held in custody overnight. Fairfax reports that the man told the police he wasn’t aware he was committing a crime.

Police reportedly became aware of the situation after being contacted by a Sydney high school, where the man had attempted to enrol the girl. They believe the girl’s parents were aware of her marriage.

Investigations are continuing.

Police are urging anyone with information about the relationship to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.