Sham marriage: ‘Groom’ gets 15 months

Police swoop after clergy tip off

AN illegal immigrant who paid a woman to take part in a sham marriage has been jailed for 15 months.

Onyeka Nwagbo, 27, pictured, and his fake bride were arrested minutes before the ceremony at St Anne’s Church in Forest Gate.

Police arrived to find Nwagbo in his wedding suit and a 23 year-old Swede, wearing a traditional white gown and clutching a bouquet.

The swoop followed a tip-off from a Parish clergywoman, who was asked to process the Nigerian’s documents which she thought suspect.

Zoe Martin, prosecuting, told Inner London Crown Court that police attended St Anne’s to catch the wedding party standing near the entrance before the planned ceremony on Saturday July 31.

She said Nwagbo claimed he was just visiting the church.

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His bride admitted she had been “offered money to undergo a false marriage” while living in the Netherlands.

Nwagbo offered no explanation at the time but later claimed he is gay and was being “persecuted in Nigeria”, said Thalia Maragh, defending.

Passing sentence on Nwagbo, Judge Lindsay Burn said the very serious offence aimed at deceiving those who preside over the institution of marriage.

Nwagbo, of no fixed address, admitted possessing a false passport with intent and making a false statement for obtaining a marriage licence.