Northern Ireland

Divorcee found guilty in Dungannon sham marriage case

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Media captionAgnieszka Kobus was due to marry a Pakistani student when police and immigration officers arrived at Dungannon Registry Office

A 43-year-old Polish divorcee has been found guilty of taking part in a sham wedding in County Tyrone.

Agnieszka Kobus had been due to marry a 28-year-old Pakistani student whom she barely knew when police and immigration officers arrived at Dungannon Registry Office last October.

The wedding did not take place.

The groom, Muhammed Zafron, later admitted his part in the conspiracy. He was jailed in May with a recommendation that he be deported on his release.

Kobus had told Dungannon Crown Court she accepted that the wedding was a sham, but said she had not realised this at the time.

The mother-of-three said she had entered into an agreement to marry Zafron because she loved him and wanted to marry him. This was despite having met him on only a handful of occasions.

The wedding was taking place four days before Zafron's three-year student visa was due to run out.

A nephew of a taxi driver who had picked the groom up from a bus station was persuaded to act as a witness.

'No interaction'

The driver later told the police that, while he had been bringing Zafron, Kobus and another Polish woman to the registry office, the two women had sat in the back of the car conversing in their own language.

There had been no interaction between Kobus and her prospective groom.

The other woman was Hanna Adamczyk, a friend of Kobus, who had arrived in Northern Ireland just a few days earlier and who was to act as her witness. She was also in court on Wednesday and was also found guilty of being part of a conspiracy.

On paperwork supplied to the registrar, both Zafron and Kobus gave their address as a house in Chestnut Grove in Aughnacloy.

However, when the police searched this house after preventing the wedding from going ahead, they found only women's clothing in the washing machine and wardrobes and no sign of any male toiletries in the bathroom.

Later, they found paperwork relating to the wedding on which Zafron had written "must take place before the 22nd".

Kobus told the police that she had first met Zafron a year earlier, but that he had returned to Pakistan. He had, however, stayed in touch via text messages. At some point, he had told her that he loved her.

He returned to Northern Ireland and they became a couple five weeks before the wedding day.

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