What was meant to be one of her happiest days turned sour as 45-year-old Ghanaian woman, Cecilia Siaw was hauled away from the ceremony where she was due to marry her German fiancé over immigration fraud offences. Bride-to-be Cecilia Siaw was forced to pose for a police mugshot in her wedding dress after being arrested for immigration crimes. The bride-to-be was hauled away from the ceremony at Portsmouth Register Office, Hants. She has now been jailed for six months.
Portsmouth crown court heard that Siaw, of Portsmouth, overstayed her leave to remain in the UK and bought a dodgy identity document. The court heard Siaw, a qualified teacher, entered the UK in 2009 legitimately but the Home Office refused to extend her leave to remain in 2013.
Siaw, who was also studying at the University of Portsmouth, forked out £5,000 to a man she didn’t know on a train for a ‘leave to remain’ identity document which was registered to an Indian man. She claimed the man who sold her the document said he worked for the Home Office.
However, Siaw, who worked as a healthcare worker looking after vulnerable people after studying for her master’s degree, was exposed when she used the fake document at work. The Home Office were able to spot the discrepancy and swooped in to arrest her on June 22.
Prosecutor James Kellam said: “At interview she claimed she bought the document from a man on a train in circumstances which must have alerted her to the document being either false or improperly obtained. “I say that because the man from whom she bought the document, she says, claimed to work for the Home Office and the defendant said she paid £5,000 for a leave to remain document.”
Siaw admitted one count of possession of an identity document with improper intention and one count of knowingly remaining in the UK beyond the time limited by leave to remain.
Oscar Vincent, defending, said: “At the time of her arrest Mrs Siaw and her husband were at Portsmouth Register Office for a ceremony to register their marriage in the UK. “She was arrested in her wedding dress immediately before the ceremony.”
He added: “This is a lady who on completion of her studies in 2011 genuinely has made a contribution to the UK.”
Sentencing her to six months in prison, judge Roger Hetherington said: “I have no alternative but to impose an immediate prison sentence.”