A husband accused of marrying a woman so he could stay in the UK left behind a life of luxury in Pakistan, a court heard.
Sheffield taxi driver Gul Khatab’s family lived in a 14-bedroomed house with a maid and three chauffeurs, Sheffield Crown Court was told yesterday.
Khatab, aged 36, allegedly paid British woman Tracy Coulstock £7,000 to marry him, so he would be able to apply for leave to remain in the UK.
However, the pair insist it was true love.
Khatab, of Scott Road, Pitsmoor, told jurors he first came to the UK in 2005 to study, having already achieved a bachelor degree in maths and physics and a Masters in computer science in Pakistan.
He said: “My ambition was to study further. It was my dad’s wish that I do a degree from somewhere outside the country, and I wanted it as well.”
When he got to the UK, Khatab did an English language course before studying computer science and management.
He said he intended to go back to Pakistan to work in management, but his applications were unsuccessful.
Khatab said: “I decided to come back to the UK and get some work experience, because I have seen people in Pakistan who have experience from other places like Australia, the UK and Canada and they were in good posts.”
In December 2008, Khatab started work at a security company in Sheffield.
Aaround this time, he began visiting a distant cousin in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Through her he met 48-year-old Coulstock, from Hatfield, as they both worked as car park barrier operators at a shopping centre.
He said they started seeing each other and their feelings for each other grew.
Khatab, who had never had a girlfriend before Coulstock, said: “We used to text each other and talk a lot on the phone. I had strong emotions, I liked her, she was nice and caring and I liked the way she chatted.
“We got closer and decided to get married. I wanted her to be my wife. We discussed marriage and she said, ‘Do you love me’ and I said, ‘Of course.’
They both deny conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law by an individual who is not a citizen of the EU.
The trial continues.