Wednesday, November 12, 2014

'Fake bride was caught with crib sheets with new Pakistani husband's height, how they met and how often they had sex'

  • Alisha Mahmood, 21, also said to have noted her husband's shoe size
  • Claim made as seven men and women stood trial over sham weddings
  • Ringleader Masoud Rasab, 38, 'arranged four fake unions to win visas'
  • One bride's children threatened when she tried to back out, court heard
  • Rasab, from Sheffield, and the other six all deny immigration law breach
Ringleader: Masoud Rasab (pictured), 38, is said to have organised the four sham marriages in the case
Ringleader: Masoud Rasab (pictured), 38, is said to have organised the four sham marriages in the case
A fake bride was caught with 'crib sheets' listing her husband's height, weight, shoe size, how they met and how often they had sex, a court heard.
The claim was revealed today as seven men and women stood trial over an alleged plot to gain visas for four Pakistani men - by pairing them off with British brides.

The women were allegedly paid up to £7,000 each to take part in bogus ceremonies in Nottingham, Leicester and Hertfordshire arranged by 38-year-old Masoud Rasab.

A trial at Sheffield Crown Court - where Rasab is in the dock with three 'brides', two 'grooms' and an alleged accessory to the plot - heard the unions were 'less about passion and more about profit'.

Rasab, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, is said to have run a bride delivery service for almost four years until July last year, helping the four desperate men stay in Britain.

Jurors heard that when one bride tried to pull out, vile threats were made against her and her children.

Another was paid £7,000, then lived 150 miles from her husband and claimed unemployment benefits as a single woman.

A third had to text her husband to find out 'their' address, the court heard.

And when officers went to the home of the fourth alleged bride, 21-year-old Alisha Mahmood, they found so-called crib sheets on her husband Muhammad Ishaque, who is not on trial.

Despite the couple marrying in June 2012, the alleged notes detailed the colour of Mr Ishaque's walls and carpets.

Prosecutor Christopher Smith added: 'It gave his height, weight, shoe size, details of the early stages of their relationship and the frequency of their love-making.'

Mr Ishaque had been in Britain on a student visa since 2006, but the wedding at Nottingham Register Office was reported to the Home Office after the registrar noted there was 'little interaction' between the pair

Before the ceremony Mahmood, from Rotherham, was allegedly a scout for other sham brides - and was paid a £250 'commission' for each one she found.

One of those was Keeley Cox, who has already pleaded guilty to conspiring to breach immigration law after marrying Yasir Awan, who is on trial.

Mr Smith said UK immigration laws allow foreign nationals who fall in love with a British citizen to apply to stay in the country.

'There are those desperate to stay in this country that are prepared to exploit that weakness,' he said.

'Money can buy you a British bride and so, through her, buy you the means to deceive the authorities into giving you a right to stay as her spouse.

'The four women in this case were prepared - for the promise of money - to marry men they didn't know.

'Their marriages were less about passion and more about profit.'

Mr Smith said the first wedding was between Gul Khatab, 35, a Pakistani national who lived in Sheffield on a student visa, and Tracey Coulstock, 48, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Tahir Siddique
Umair Hussain
Accused: Tahir Siddique (left) is accused of allowing his bank account to be used; Umair Hussain (right) was an alleged groom after wanting to remain in Britain when his five-year-old student visa expired in 2011

The couple married at Hatfield Register Office in January 2010, and two months later Khatab applied to the Home Office for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.

But instead of living in Hatfield with his new wife, Khatab lived and worked 150 miles away in Sheffield, the court heard.

His wife, a security guard, was reportedly paid £7,000 for her trouble.

Mr Smith asked jurors: 'Was it a mere act of generosity by a lovestruck new husband or was it part of as concerted effort to leave his name on official paperwork to prove that the couple lived together?' 

Money can buy you a British bride - their marriages were less about passion and more about profit
Prosecutor Christopher Smith 
The second wedding was between Sabrina Khan, 29, from Rotherham, and Umair Hussain, 28, from Sheffield.

Six weeks before his five-year-old student visa was due to expire in December 2011, Hussain gave notice of his intention to marry Khan at Leicester Register Office. 

Investigators later found a 'fistful' of receipts under a mattress at his home showing he had paid just under £2,000 into Khan's bank account.

'It might be called proof of purchase,' said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said although Khan was 'married', she claimed benefits as a single woman.

Text messages found on her phone indicated an 'intimate' relationship with another man within five months of the wedding - and she had to ask where her husband lived.

A text from her phone to his read: 'Can you text your address? I need to change my address details to your details.' 

Rasab, Hussain, Khan, Mahmood, Khatab and Coulstock all deny conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law.

Tahir Siddique, 41, of Tinsley, South Yorkshire, is accused of allowing his address to be used as part of the scam. He denies the same charge.

The trial continues.  

The court heard she was recruited for the 2012 ceremony at Nottingham Register Office after Rasab, Mahmood and two other men turned up at her house and offered her money.

Sabrina Khan
Tracey Caulstock
Brides: Sabrina Khan (left) allegedly received more than £2,000 while Tracey Caulstock (right) received £7,000

She tried to pull out - but she and her children were then threatened, jurors heard.
Prosecutor Mr Smith told the court: 'This is a case about sham marriages.

'You will hear about four weddings, and how they were built not on love, mutual respect and companionship, but a combination of greed and dishonesty.'

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