Facing jail: Rev Brian Shipsides and Amudalat Ladipo were both involved
in a bogus marriage scam that helped illegal immigrants stay in the country
The racket earned the 55-year-old churchman at least £30,000 in undeclared income.
But the conspiracy came unstuck after another vicar in the same inner-city parish tipped off police over her suspicions about a Nigerian groom.
Illegal immigrant Amudalat Ladipo, 31, who acted as a fixer, was convicted of conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration laws. The Nigerian was branded a ‘prolific and resourceful liar’ in court and investigators suspect she organised similar marriages at other churches.
Sham: Rev Shipsides performs a ceremony involving defendant
Amdudalat Ladipo and an unidentified man
As Ladipo was arrested, couples were queueing up for their bogus ceremonies and she dumped an envelope stuffed with bogus identity documents in a bush.
Prosecutor David Walbank said: ‘Most of the so-called couples who participated in these marriage ceremonies were not actually couples at all. Their ultimate purpose was to obtain enhanced rights to enter and live in the United Kingdom.’
The Rev Shipsides is no stranger to publicity and appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for officiating at the wedding of the world’s tallest married couple.
He admitted conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration laws before the month-long trial of his curate, and will be sentenced next month.