Man spared jail for role in sham marriage bid

10:19am Thursday 5th June 2014

A SOLDIER’S husband who assisted his Nigerian brother as he arranged a sham marriage has walked free from court.

Dustman Gbenga Abijo provided financial support for his sibling and picked up his ‘bride to be’ from Gatwick Airport after she flew in from Portugal.

But after hearing the 30-year-old had not played an integral role in the attempt to get his brother permanent residence, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the case related to the attempt by Mukaila Abijo and Vanessa Mendes to marry in February 2013.

The sham ceremony never went ahead after staff at the register office became suspicious and immigration officers detained them.

In court last year Mukaila Abijo, 28, of Botley, Oxford, was jailed for two years and Mendes, 22, of Portugal, for 16 months.

They were also each deported having admitted perjury and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration to a member state .

Gbenga Abijo, of Melsome Road, Lyneham, faced the same conspiracy charge but it was dropped when he admitted attempting to assist an unlawful immigration.

Mr Meeke said the defendant allowed his brother to masquerade as him to get work. He also provided money for him and was involved in the arrival of the woman from Portugal who was to be paid to be his brother’s wife.

Keith Hadrill, defending, said his client was ashamed of what he had done and was fearful of prison.

He said he came to the UK in 2002 with his wife, who is in the Royal Logistics Corps, and lives in military housing with her and their children aged nine, six and three.

“What he thought was an act of mercy for his brother has brought shame on him and his family,” he said.

Judge Douglas Field imposed a four-month jail term, suspended for a year.

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