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Raistlin

Detectives Baffled By Sham Marriage Vicar's Motive

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Rev Alex Brown presided over a total of 360 sham marriages in four years To his parishioners, he appeared to be a caring and well-respected priest.

But Reverend Alex Brown was not all he seemed.

For four years he took part in a sham marriage conspiracy, where Eastern Europeans were promised up to £3,000 to wed Africans, thereby giving them the chance to gain UK residency.

He presided over 383 marriages during that period - a staggering 30-fold increase on the 13 he had conducted over the previous four years.

Brown, 61, the vicar of St Peter and St Paul church in St Leonards, East Sussex, was found guilty on Thursday of helping illegal immigration.

Two other men were also convicted of the same offence.

But while his conviction at Lewes Crown Court will satisfy detectives, one baffling question remains unanswered - why did he do it?

Although, there was undoubtedly money changing hands as part of the plot, Brown appeared not to have enjoyed any additional income.

Indeed, he claimed he was a "man of the cloth" and "just doing his job".

Det Insp Andy Cummings, from the UK Border Agency, said: "With regards to his motivation, we can't show any financial gain.

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Det Insp Andy Cummings said many people felt let down by Alex Brown "That's not to say that the the group have not made money any during the course of their criminality.

"During the course of his interviews, he was given the opportunity to discuss whether he had been put under any pressure and again in court he could have had that opportunity."

Mr Cummings added: "Alex seems to be quite a significant member of the community and his role as the local vicar was significant.

"A lot of people took him into trust and confidence and there is a lot of people who felt let down by him with regards to the deception involved.

"Members of the parish council thought there had been only 20 weddings in a year and when we we disclosed it was 170 they were very upset by the deception that had gone on."

Whatever the vicar's motivation, a jury decided Brown knew full well the vast majority of the marriages were shams.

Gareth Redmond, the area director for the South East with the UK border agency, said Brown was "clearly not making the right checks".

"Any other vicar operating in good faith should be able to make checks and, with our help, recognise the signs that a marriage is not genuine," he said.

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Gareth Redmond said any vicar should make checks to ensure marriages were genuine "The trial indicates that the vicar knew those marriages were not genuine and was involved in a criminal conspiracy."

Now the search begins for the people the agency believes were granted leave to remain after their sham marriages.

Around 150 right-of-residence applications resulting from marriages at Brown's church were put on hold when the conspiracy was uncovered.

Mr Redmond said: "There are a number of people who have been granted status after having been married and we will look at those cases and look at whether we need to revoke that status and identify anybody who needs to be removed from the UK.

"Living and working in the UK is a privilege and it's one we want to safeguard and we are cracking down on abuses such as this.

"We hope to find most of them, if not all of them but of course if you are in the country illegally sometimes people disappear and we have to work that bit harder to find them."

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Irrelevant, I know, but define "Sham Marriage" :unsure:

I'm in a cynical mood today :blink: How many legal marriages are real joinings of the spirit & flesh ? How many are abusive, not consummated Or with the couples staying together out of convenience or because of the Children ? These are equally sham :(

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A sham marriage or fake marriage is a union (marriage) motivated not by love but instead by a desire for benefits such as immigration. After some period, they often divorce because of the gain of benefits, for example is immigrant identity. It violates the laws in some country.

Sham marriages for personal convenience can involve a desire to conceal homosexuality ("lavender marriage") or other aspects of one's self from a public that might view that true self with derision or intolerance. Rock Hudson's marriage was encouraged by his studio to camouflage his increasingly well-known desire for same sex relations.[citation needed]

While referred to as a 'sham', such a marriage is still a legal union (provided it conforms to necessary legal details

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Missed the point I was making, as usual, by a mile :rolleyes: I'll have to spell things out in simpler language for the simpler member [singular] of our Happy Community. :g::laughing:

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I'll have to spell things out in simpler language for the members of the Irish Community. g.giflaughing.gif

I think that's a bit strong...

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I'll have to spell things out in simpler language for the members of the Surrey Community. g.giflaughing.gif

I think that's a bit strong...

Not in the least :thumbsup: If anything, I was kind & polite, considering those to whom I was referring :angel::clap:

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I'll have to spell things out in simpler language for the members of the Surrey Community. g.giflaughing.gif

I think that's a bit strong...

If anything, I was kind & polite,

OK what have you done with Vic biggrin.gif

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