Tom Kelly, Daily Mail (London), May 12, 2008
The gipsy mother who forced her daughter of 13 to marry a 14-year-old boy yesterday dismissed British values as irrelevant to her.
Renata Gural said she was unconcerned by the outrage over the teenagers’ Romany wedding ceremony at a pub in East London.
Mrs Gural, 31, who is pregnant with her sixth child, said: “I’m not bothered what anyone thinks.
“I’ll be the one who decides if my daughter is old enough to marry. I got married when I was 14 in such a ceremony and it hasn’t done me any harm.
“Just because I live in Britain doesn’t mean I’ve got to behave the way you lot think is right. I’ll live my life the way I want and that includes the way I bring up my kids.
“I don’t care what the neighbours think, or social services. It’s not my problem people around here don’t understand our culture and values.”
The Daily Mail revealed earlier this month how her daughter, Bozena, married Bezo, the son of another gipsy family originally from Poland, in front of 150 guests at the Central pub in East Ham.
A community elder clasped the couple to his chest, bound their hands in a scarf, kissed them both on the lips and pronounced them man and wife.
The guests then danced all night as a Polish band played raucous gipsy music.
Bozena said yesterday she was “really happy” with married life, adding: “For the first time in my life I feel like a proper grown-up.
“Before I was just a little girl and then suddenly there I was—married. That’s every girl’s dream isn’t it?”
Bozena continues to share a cramped two-bedroom terraced house in East Ham, with 14 relatives. Her parents do not make her, or any of her siblings, go to school.
Neighbours say the family, who live on benefits and do not pay rent, are terrorising the street by playing loud music late at night, throwing rubbish into neighbours’ gardens and spitting on their windows.
Bezo wants his young bride Bozena to move in with him and his parents two miles away in Manor Park.
But she wants to stay at home, saying she would miss her mother if she left.
Her mother insisted the young couple had not consummated the marriage and that she will not allow her daughter to have sex until she is 18.
Their marriage is not recognised under British law, but there are fears that similar underground ceremonies could become common as the number of gypsies in Britain rises following the eastwards expansion of the EU.
Romania and Poland, which have large Romany gipsy (or Roma) populations, have taken a tough stance on such weddings by threatening prosecutions on underage sex charges.
This has led to concerns that they may move to the UK instead.
Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson, a long-time campaigner against child weddings, claimed the young couple would “be scarred for life” by the experience.
They married on April 28 after a deal stuck between their fathers soon after they arrived in Britain three years ago.
There are estimated to be nearly 100,000 Roma in Britain, although no figures are available for how many have arrived from Eastern Europe. For centuries they have encouraged their children to marry young.
Often girls are “promised” to a boy from the age of seven or eight in return for a cash dowry. It is considered essential that the girl is a virgin.