Sham bride avoids jail after trying to marry man she had only met three times

Bolton Crown Court

Bolton Crown Court

First published in News

A WOMAN has been spared jail after a court heard how she had entered into a sham marriage ceremony with someone she had only met three times.

Police halted the ceremony at Blackburn with Darwen Register Office where Hungarian woman Erzebet Habling, using the stolen identity of Gitta Kostanczer, was about to tie the knot with Shafiq Ahmad on July 29 last year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the alarm was raised by a registrar when the pair turned up at the register office two weeks earlier to give notice of their intention to marry.

Denise Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, told how Habling, aged 22, of Gilnow Lane, Bolton, was using a stolen Hungarian identity document.

One of the two witnesses at the ceremony was Habling’s co-accused, Krisztian Kokeny.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest after he failed to turn up to court. Ahmad has also skipped bail.

Habling, a mother-of-one, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist illegal immigration by entering into a sham marriage.

Mohammed Nawaz, defending, said Habling had been living in Kokeny’s house and felt she had no choice but to go along with his request that she enter into the marriage.

Sentencing Habling to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson, told her he believed she would have financially benefited from the crime but accepted she had been taken advantage of.

He added: “You may have been inclined to act as a result of some pressure being placed on you.

“This is your last chance — any more offences and you will immediately go to prison.

“In that event, your young child will effectively have been abandoned by you.”

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