A Nigerian Hull University masters student Jayeola Abiola, 29, has been jailed for 12 months for paying Portuguese Vania Pinheiro-Fernandes, 29, to be his bride as he needed to marry to stay in the UK. They met for the first time at their dress rehearsal and he stumbled to pronounce her name.
Vania Pinheiro-Fernandes bought her dress, tiara, wedding veil, and flowers from British Home Stores in Leeds for Â£245 with the groom watching. She had bought the dress two hours before the ceremony and still had 60 miles to drive down the M62. Leeds law student Ayodeji Abbis, 25, was paid Â£1,000 to act as the best man. He was one of six people who turned up for the ceremony.
But the wedding plans turn sour. Officers of the UK Border Agency had been tipped off by the Hull Registrar that the couple seemed to barely know each other when they were interviewed at the rehearsal. So Border Agency secretly filmed a wedding video of the cars, groom, bride and best man arriving outside the grand 19th century council town hall before arresting them at the door. According to the crown barrister;
‘It was fake because he did not know her. He was not in love with her. He didnâ€™t want to set up a loving family unit. He did it because he wanted to stay in the UK. The bride and the organizers stood to gain because they were being paid for their services.’
Abiola got 12 months jail sentence while Pinheiro-Fernandes, a former air-steward, was jailed sentence for 8-months.