Bogus bride and groom jailed

AN Ipswich bride and her and prospective groom have been jailed after agreeing to take part in a sham marriage which would allow him to remain in the country.

AN Ipswich bride and her and prospective groom have been jailed after agreeing to take part in a sham marriage which would allow him to remain in the country.

Mohamed Kessar, 34, an Algerian, offered £3,000 to Portuguese national Eunice de Silva Salvador, 20, if she agreed to take part in the bogus marriage at Ipswich Register Office in June.

But before the pair had a chance to take their vows, police arrested them on suspicion of breaking immigration law during the ceremony.

Salvador, who was legally living in Ipswich, was locked up for nine months, while Kessar was sent to prison for 15 months.

Sentencing the pair yesterday, Judge John Devaux said: "It's become clear recently that Ipswich has been targeted by people like you attempting to go through sham marriages.

"It may be that Ipswich is not alone and is one town of many that has been chosen. But whereas this sort of offence did not feature one time, luckily, it has now become prevalent in the course of this year.

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He warned: "The more this town is targeted, the higher the sentences will be until people decide to stop or go elsewhere."

Ipswich Crown Court heard Kessar had arrived in the UK with a false identity card in December 1999 claiming asylum and had been granted temporary admission pending the outcome of an asylum application.

But that claim was refused a year later and Kessar appealed, which was also unsuccessful.

Stephen Rose, prosecuting, said the pair, both of Moore Road, Ipswich, had gone to the town's register office on May 24 to complete marriage notices with the intention of getting wed.

However, the court was told errors on the forms in relation to their names had led the registrar to become suspicious and the matter had been referred to immigration officers.

During a search of Salvador's home, a sheet of paper containing answers to questions such as when the pair met and how long they had been going out was found.

The pair were arrested and in interview Salvador admitted to knowing Kessar had been living in the UK illegally.

Mr Rose said: "She indicated she had been persuaded to marry him. The arrangement was that he would pay her the sum of £3,000. She was aware that was an offence and she claimed they had been introduced by a friend."

The court heard during Kessar's interview, he admitted knowing Salvador for about a year and was surprised by the claim he was to pay her £3,000 for the marriage.

Salvador admitted attempting to procure a marriage that facilitated a beach of immigration law and they both pleaded guilty to making false statements to procure a marriage.

Nick Jack, mitigating for Salvador, said she had been working as a cleaner in a pub in Ipswich and had been suffering financial difficulties.