Scam exposed by vicar’s home visit

24 August 2011

by Ed Beavan

A COUPLE who attempted to enter into a sham mar­riage have been imprisoned after a priest in Gloucester re­ported his suspicions over the authenticity of their relationship to the police.

The Vicar of St James and All Saints and Christ Church in Gloucester, Canon Robert Simpson, observed a lack of intimacy between Mojeed Bello, a Nigerian, and Carina Merselina, a Dutch national, when he visited them at the flat that they said was their home, in the city centre, in February.

The flat had an appearance of student digs, and there was nothing to reassure Canon Simpson that this was a genuine marriage, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

The couple were arrested on 24 February, at the dio­cesan registrar’s office, when they went to collect the marriage licence.

The court heard that the couple said that they had met at the Notting Hill Carnival, but that Mr Bello ap­peared to know nothing about his fiancée except that she was “big, black, and liked smoking and chicken burgers”.

The sham marriage was an attempt to stop Mr Bello’s being deported from the UK. The court heard that he had previously attempted to marry an EU national in 2008, but had failed.

Mr Bello, 31, of Peckham, London, was sentenced to14 months in prison, and Ms Merselina, 25, of no fixed address, to 300 days.

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