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9 November 2010, 14:33
Four people have been jailed for trying to stage a sham marriage in Peterborough.
It's after the group tried to stage a ceremony at All Saints Church in Park Road back in May.
The bride, Ruth Abumhere, 29, was sentenced to two years for attempting to stay in the UK by deception and possessing a false identity document.
The groom, Fernando Da Silva, 43, was jailed for 18 months; the best man, Mamadu Djalo, 33, sentenced to two and a half years; and the witness, Clifford Asikhia, 34, was given 18 months.
All three men had already been convicted of attempting to break the UK’s immigration laws.
The four had been arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency’s Immigration Crime Team who, acting on intelligence received, were lying in wait at the church on the wedding day.
Nigerian national Abumhere, an illegal entrant to the UK, was marrying Portuguese national Da Silva hoping that it would win her long term residency in the country.
Subsequent investigations by the UK Border Agency revealed Da Silva, of Lincoln Road, knew little about the woman he was due to marry.
In interview he could not pronounce her surname correctly, nor spell it.
He did not know the names of any members of her family, nor whether she had any children.
Abumhere also initially insisted the marriage was genuine.
However, when officers searched her home address of Gransden House, Bowditch, they found evidence indicating the man she was in a relationship with was not Da Silva, but the witness, Nigerian national, Clifford Asikhia, of All Saints Road.
At the Russell Street home of Portuguese national Djalo, officers discovered a series of blank false Portuguese ID cards.
In interview he also admitted to participating in another sham marriage to a Nigerian national some years previously.
Sam Bullimore, UK Border Agency Assistant Director, said: "We are determined to take action to stamp out this kind of abuse, and we hope these sentences send out a message that anyone who tries to enter into or organise a sham marriage faces arrest, prosecution and prison.
Foreign nationals who commit these crimes will also face deportation."