A bogus bride was caught out because she ‘flinched’ when her phoney husband-to-be touched her knee in a register office.
Emilia Ginova, 22, was jailed today for posing as a blushing bride ready to walk up the aisle with her groom.
But a court heard Ginova had only first seen Nigerian student Louis Esene on the day of the service – and was being paid £3,000 to take part in the sham marriage.
She was caught out by an eagle-eyed registrar who spotted her shocked reaction when Esene, 28, reached out to touch her leg.
Registration officer Donna Davies said: ‘The groom tried to touch the bride’s knee but she looked very uncomfortable.
‘She flinched and there was no interaction at all. I knew it was a scam.’
The marriage was stopped – and the pair were both arrested at the register office in Pontypridd, South Wales.
It was later revealed that Esene wanted to stay in Britain because his visa had run out.
The court was told a friend recruited Ginova – who is a Slovakian-born Roma – and was four months pregnant by another man at the time of the wedding.
Esene and Ginova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
Prosecutor Rachel Knight said: ‘The registrar was suspicious of Esene and Ginova when they had notified their intent to wed as they could not communicate with each other.
‘She did not find it convincing in any way.
‘It was part and parcel of a plan to circumvent immigration rules, which would allow him to work, access to the NHS, social security and housing benefit.’
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard the bogus bride and groom met first on November 22 last year – and spent the morning shopping for rings and a wedding dress.
But the court heard Esene lost his temper when Ginova failed to ‘learn her lines properly’ – and threatened he could put ‘anyone in a dress’.
Both were jailed – Ginova, of Chatham, for 18 months and Esene, of Pontypridd, for 21 months.
Esene will be deported to Nigeria at the end of his sentence
Judge Richard Twomlow said: ‘It strikes at the integrity of the importance of marriage.’
See on www.dailymail.co.uk