Ipswich: Fake groom jailed for sham wedding

AN Ipswich man has been jailed for his part in a sham marriage which took place in an attempt to trick immigration officials into letting a woman stay in the UK.

Portuguese ‘groom’ Fernando Da Silva, 43, of Ipswich, was given an 18-month prison sentence when he appeared at his sentencing in Peterborough.

Two other men who played the parts of the best man and witness during the fake ceremony - along with the Nigerian ‘bride’ - were also imprisoned.

A judge at Peterborough Crown Court heard how all four were arrested by investigators from the UK Border Agency at a church in Peterborough in May.

Ruth Abumhere, of Bowditch, south-east London, was given two consecutive 12-month sentences after admitting trying to obtain leave to stay in the UK by deception.

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The 29-year-old also pleaded guilty to possessing a false identity document.

Portuguese “best man” Mamadu Djalo, 33, of Peterborough, received 30 months; and Nigerian “witness” Clifford Asikhia, 34, of Bowditch, was given an 18-month term.

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Da Silva, Djalo, and Asikhia, were convicted of conspiring to arrange a sham wedding in order to facilitate a breach of immigration law after a trial.

“You were all involved in a sham marriage which was stopped minutes before it took place,” said Judge Sean Enright. “There is no doubt this was done for a significant amount of money.”

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