Women "Paid" For Sham Marriages

Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK

Women 'paid' for sham marriages

Women in Londonderry have been paid up to 2,500 to enter into sham marriages to allow illegal immigrants into the UK, the High Court has heard.

The claim was made during a bail application by Alexander Success, 28, of Waterfoot Park, Derry, and Akeem Shittu, 29, of Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The Nigerian step-brothers are accused of assisting the illegal entry of a Chinese man into the UK.

Mr Justice Deeny refused bail for both defendants.

A Crown lawyer said it was alleged that a man before the court had visited a women's hostel in Derry and offered money to young mothers to enter into arranged marriages.

He said one woman had been paid 2,500 and another 1,800.

“A substantial number of young women have been used by this criminal gang,” he said.

“So far five sham marriages have been established along with two attempted marriages and detectives are investigating five other attempted sham marriages.”

Foreign nationals

The lawyer told the court that when police raided Mr Success's home in Derry's Waterside area they found 17 passports belonging to foreign nationals from China and the UK along with passports from the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

He said police also found photographs, computers and scanning equipment along with birth certificates and marriage documentation.

“These men are engaged in people trafficking,” said the Crown lawyer.

Mr Hopley said the passport Mr Success was using when he was initially stopped by traffic police was one of 499 stolen prior to issue in Nigeria.