Glasgow & West Scotland

Sham wedding fixer Janet Cathie jailed for 27 months

Janet Cathie
Image caption Cathie was remanded in custody after being found guilty

A 49-year-old woman from Glasgow who was convicted of breaching immigration law by arranging three bogus marriage services has been jailed for 27 months.

Janet Cathie, from Cardonald, used her own daughter, partner and a friend to take payments from Ghanaian citizens who were desperate to stay in Britain.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the marriages took place in Paisley, Renfrew and Glasgow in 2006 and 2007.

Cathie was told she was being jailed to act as a deterrent to others.

During her trial, the court heard how Cathie first targeted friend Donna Taylor, who eventually got wed to Ernest Gyapong at a register office in Paisley in November 2006.

Cash promise

Miss Taylor - who was paid £2,000 - had been introduced to her future "husband" by Cathie.

Cathie then lured her boyfriend Robert Tweedie with the promise of cash.

He was married to Charlotte Kramo at Renfrew Register Office in January 2007.

The court heard he knew virtually none of Miss Kramo's personal details and when asked whereabouts in the African country she came from, he replied: "I don't know - Ghana's Ghana."

Cathie's final victim was her daughter Amanda McCourt, who agreed to marry Hayford Kesse at Glasgow's Park Circus Register Office in February 2007.

Cathie had told the 30-year-old, who was heavily pregnant at the time and in a long-term relationship, that she could make her money and that it was "easy to do".

Miss McCourt, who had to give Cathie a cut of the £1,000 she was due, told the trial that she had no intention of living with Mr Kesse and that she too had done it for money.

The trial was told that Cathie had been a witness at all three weddings - but she denied arranging them.

She claimed she had been a Good Samaritan to Miss Taylor and had introduced her to Mr Gyapong in a bid to give the woman "a happy life".

She said it was a "shock" to be asked to attend Mr Tweedie's nuptials before branding her daughter "a compulsive liar".

Child claim

Cathie claimed she believed Miss McCourt's African groom was the father of her child - and only realised he was not when the child was born white.

She said: "My own daughter would say it was snowing if it was sunny."

Cathie also told the court she was in the "process" of divorcing a man from Ghana.

She had also been previously married to an Algerian citizen.

Jailing Cathie, Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC told her: "You were convicted by the jury of three offences under the immigration act which carry a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

"You arranged the introduction of illegal immigrants to vulnerable people, including your own daughter and were a witness at these sham weddings and you did this for money."

Sheriff Johnston added: "The sentence I am imposing will act as a deterrent to others. These laws are in place to protect all of us in the UK."

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