Tulay Goren's body has never been found
The boyfriend of a girl whose family allegedly murdered her for "honour" found out she was 15 years old when they went to marry, a court has heard.
Halil Unal, 41, told the Old Bailey that Tulay Goren's family had agreed to the union but it was only at Hackney register office he learnt her age.
Tulay, who vanished in 1999, ran away from home and lived with Mr Unal before their attempt to wed, the court heard.
Her father Mehmet Goren, 49, denies murder. Her body has never been found.
Mr Goren, of Woodford Green, north London, is charged along with Tulay's uncles Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55.
The brothers, both from Walthamstow, east London, also deny murder.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mr Unal told the jury that Tulay, a Kurdish Turk, had run away from home soon after her father attacked him.
Mr Unal, 31 at the time, said Tulay's father came to the factory he worked at and attacked him for "bothering" his daughter.
The pair had met and fell in love when Tulay got a summer job at the factory.
Mr Unal said she told him she was 17 years old.
On 14 December 1998 Tulay ran away from home and came to live with Mr Unal, also a Kurdish Turk, the jury heard.
He told the court: "She said 'I've left home. Come pick me up.'
When he went to collect her from Stratford bus station in east London he found her carrying only a plastic carrier bag, he told the court.
A couple of days later, Mr Unal got a call from her uncle Ali Goren who asked if the teenager was with him, which he confirmed.
He told the court that, following Mr Goren's suggestion, some elderly members of the community approached Tulay's family on Mr Unal's behalf to ask for Tulay's hand in marriage.
The court heard Tulay's father and uncles gave their permission to the union.
But when the couple went to the register office on 22 December, Mr Unal said he found out Tulay's real age.
Mr Unal told the jury he was "not angry" about the discovery.
"If you love somebody you love them to the very end. You just love them as they are," he said.
Soon after the register office incident, Tulay's father complained that other single men were staying at the property and came to take her back home, Mr Unal told the court.
But Mr Unal said that, as he did not trust Mehmet Goren, he rang his brother Ali who told him: "Who is Mehmet going to give this girl to?
"He has either got to kill her or give her to you. Who else will take this girl?"
The prosecution says Tulay was killed "to restore the so-called honour" of the family, as a relationship between she and Mr Unal - who are from different sects of Islam - "would not have been tolerated".
The trial continues.