Rochdale Vicar Jailed For Sham Marriages

A Rochdale vicar has been jailed for two and a half years after carrying out dozens of sham marriages in his Greater Manchester church.

Rochdale Reverend Canon Dr John Magumba pleaded guilty to the theft of more than £8,000 from his church councils by not declaring income from weddings and funerals.

The father-of-six, originally from Uganda, "asked no questions'' when marrying a stream of Nigerian men and eastern European women who began flocking to his parish in Rochdale from across the UK to celebrate their "happy day".

The 58-year-old even told local church-goers that African worshippers did not feel comfortable around so many white parishioners so he set up separate "African services''.

Churches saw the number of weddings rocket after Magumba became the team vicar for St Mary's in Rochdale, St Peter's in Newbold and St Luke's in Deeplish. Magumba showed no emotion as sentence was passed at Bolton Crown Court after he admitted carrying out 28 sham weddings.

Judge William Morris told the defendant: "What you did repeatedly amounted to very serious breaches of the immigration laws of this country properly designed to prevent those with no entitlement to reside in the UK from doing so.

"Your offences have brought scandal to the church and let down your family and parishioners."