Predatory marriage is where a fraudster exploits a vulnerable, often elderly, person by coercing them into marriage for their own financial benefit. This is a criminal offence under the Forced Marriage Act 2014, which carries a maximum sentence of 7 years.

Following the recent case of Joan Blass, a 91-year-old lady suffering from vascular dementia who fell victim to this horrific crime, there has been a campaign set up calling for reforms to the law in this area. The recommended changes include marriage not automatically revoking a previous will and specific training to, and responsibilities placed on, registrars so that they are able to look for signs of insufficient mental capacity to marry and put a stop to a ceremony if there are any doubts. 

Until any changes are made to the law on predatory marriage, we need to be alert to the sad reality that crimes of this nature are taking place, and it is important for families to stay in touch with vulnerable family members to ensure they aren't falling victim to such crimes.