A SLOVAKIAN woman and Nigerian man were arrested as they were about to enter into a sham marriage.
Bride Monika Mitrova, 23, had already carried out one bogus marriage to a Bangladeshi man just six months earlier. The couple were arrested at Gloucester Register Office, at Shire Hall, on the day of their wedding, after she was paid £1,000 by her "groom".
Speaking after the case, Councillor Usman Bhaimia (L, Barton and Tredworth) said he believed the city's multiculturalism could have been a factor in the couple's decision to marry here.
"Gloucester is a very multicultural place and that is great, but sometimes people take undue advantage of that. It is down to the individual though, if there is some kind of loophole to exploit, they will often try and exploit it."
Yesterday, at Gloucester Crown Court, Mitrova was jailed for two years after admitting the conspiracy to wed Abiodun Adesope, having a fake Slovakian identity card and she asked the court to take into consideration a charge of attempted bigamy.
Because of the length of her sentence she will face deportation even though she is an EU national.
Adesope, 31, was jailed for a year after he also admitted conspiring to have a sham marriage. He will also be deported.
The court heard Adesope, of Bragg Road, Birmingham, came to the UK as a student on a three year visa in 2009. Mitrova, of Innox Gardens, Bristol, has been in the UK since December last year and had her first sham marriage in April.
Judge Jamie Tabor said the wedding was "a deliberate act designed to evade the immigration laws".
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy told the court the couple visited the register office on September 4 to arrange the wedding. The UK Border Agency were informed and the pair were arrested on October 3 – the day of the planned wedding.