Nigerian groom and his gay rent-a-bride stopped at the altar

9 years ago by: Yetty Ness
-- (f) at 12-01-2011 09:33PM

(2057 | Gistmaniac)

 It was hardly a marriage made in heaven.

She was a lesbian from Holland and he was a man from Nigeria, with no right to live and claim benefits in Britain. Until their wedding was over that is.

But thanks to a sharp eyed vicar, this pair were arrested at the altar moments before they said their vows.

Caught: Dutch lesbian ‘bride’ Roqsilmar Marti, 28, and Nigerian ‘groom’ Abraham Akinola, 32,  were arrested at the altar after police leapt from the vestry

Police and Borders Agency staff hiding in the vestry leapt out and slapped them in handcuffs after a tip-off by the priest, Father Tim Codling.

‘Bride’ Roqsilmar Marti, 28, and ‘groom’ Abraham Akinola, 32,  both pleaded guilty in Basildon crown court to conspiracy to commit an immigration offence.

Marrying a citizen of not only Britain, but of any European Union country, gives a non-EU national the right to live, work and claim benefits here.

Such sham marriages are a widespread problem, but Father Codling had become wise to such antics at his Church of England church, St John the Baptist in Tilbury, Essex.

And when the Dutch lesbian and the Nigerian man applied for their marriage banns on June 6 for a church wedding in August he realised the groom had given two different homes addresses on official paperwork.

Altar: The pair admitted plotting a sham marriage at St John the Baptist Church in Tilbury, Essex

The authorities were duly informed and lay in wait as the bride and groom arrived for the ceremony.

The court heard on Friday that Marti had been involved in a lesbian relationship for the past eight years, and that her worried female partner had flown to the UK and reported her missing on the day of the fake wedding.

Rotterdam resident Marti, who speaks limited English, needed a translator in court. Judge John Lodge remanded the pair in custody and asked for reports into their background to be conducted so they could be sentenced at a later date.

A third man, Abdallah Magezi, 35, from Plumstead, south-east London, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to hold the sham marriage and will go on trial next year.

Father Codling said the number of weddings he carried out in his church had tripled following a Government clampdown of bogus weddings at registrar offices – although numbers noticeably dropped after the August arrests.

Sharp: Father Tim Colding became suspicious and tipped off police about the sham marriage couple

He began to suspect many of the weddings he carried out were bogus, but was legally powerless to stop them.

Father Codling said fraudsters were targeting his church because of its growing ethnic diversity and good train links with London making bogus marriage awaydays easy.

He said: ‘I think the vast majority of weddings we have at the church appear to be sham marriages. But the way the legislation works means if someone has been given a wedding licence I have to marry them.

‘We can only stop weddings if we have reasonable grounds to suspect they aren’t genuine.’

He said one suspect bride had stripped down to her underwear and the back of his church, pulled a wedding dress out of a black bin back and put it on, even though it was clearly twice her size.

He caught out another couple because when he asked the bride to repeat the vows, he began reading out train station names and she repeated them back.

And another couple walked off in opposite directions when their wedding was concluded.

Father Codling said: ‘I was asking the bride to repeat the vows and I just knew something wasn’t right.

‘So I started calling out the names of stations on the London to Shoeburyness line – Pitsea, Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea, and the bride started saying them back to me.

‘She clearly couldn’t understand anything I was saying – I don’t think she even knew why she was in the church.’

Father Codling, 48, said that when he began questioning suspect weddings, his home was broken into and his wife threatened.

Detective Sergeant Andy Harvey of Essex Police said after the arrests in August: ‘Sham weddings are big business with the organisers charging £10,000 or more to arrange ceremonies and to pay ‘brides’ and ‘witnesses’.

‘The UK Border Agency and Essex Police are working closely to crack down on the criminals involved in these activities.’

Sam Bullimore of the Border Agency said: ‘Our immigration crime teams are cracking down on sham marriages all over the country.

‘If we uncover marriages that are not genuine, we will challenge them and prosecute where appropriate. Our main aim is to identify the organisers who profit from and fuel the demand for sham marriages, and destroy their criminal business.

‘We do not expect vicars or registrars to be experts in immigration law or spotting forged documents – that’s our job. But if they have any suspicions about whether a relationship is genuine, we urge them to get in touch.

-- walerian (m) at 14-01-2011 12:09PM
(1472 | Gistmaniac)

na wao!
-- mykelly (m) at 14-01-2011 12:15PM
(1123 | Gistmaniac)

-- ksurrina (f) at 15-01-2011 02:04AM
(1579 | Gistmaniac)

lol wow Nigerians is in everything that is in the book. It is because he is an Nigerian why the vicar clamped down on him. I wonder why they continue to hate Nigerians like this. wow

-- xena15 (f) at 15-01-2011 10:09AM
(6181 | Gistmaniac)


-- Pointzero (m) at 16-01-2011 03:47AM
(5485 | Gistmaniac)


-- donuche (m) at 3-10-2011 08:50AM
(1765 | Gistmaniac)

Quote from: ksurrina on 15-01-2011 02:04AM
lol wow Nigerians is in everything that is in the book. It is because he is an Nigerian why the vicar clamped down on him. I wonder why they continue to hate Nigerians like this. wow

i am just surprised like you are.
-- Ashii (m) at 6-03-2012 06:10AM
(52 | Newbie)

Dis is a bushit and u people need to start hating and get busy with other bad people out there.
-- Unikpearl (f) at 6-03-2012 07:52AM
(3046 | Gistmaniac)

-- BendelArmedRobb (m) at 9-06-2012 11:00AM
(3177 | Gistmaniac)

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(33960 | Addicted Hero)

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-- dlimelite (f) at 19-07-2012 05:49PM
(13808 | Hero)

-- cocoeni (f) at 19-07-2012 05:52PM
(14086 | Hero)

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-- dickman2 (m) at 26-07-2012 10:38AM
(33960 | Addicted Hero)

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