Sham marriage ‘genuine’, Sheffield bridegroom told immigration officials

Gul Khatab denies marrying a woman to get leave to stay in the UK.
Gul Khatab denies marrying a woman to get leave to stay in the UK.
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A Sheffield man accused of taking part in a sham marriage so he could stay in the UK told officials the wedding was genuine.

Pakistani national Gul Khatab, aged 35, gave a description of his wedding to 48-year-old Tracey Coulstock to police and immigration officials.

In a police interview, Sheffield Crown Court heard, he said they married at Hatfield Register Office in Hertfordshire in February 2010 in front of 28 guests.

The reception took place at a nearby hotel and the couple were given flowers and chocolates as wedding presents.

Khatab said although guests paid for their own meals, he paid for the drinks.

Khatab is accused – along with six others – of a sham marriage plot which allegedly saw four brides paid to marry men so their new husbands could stay in the UK.

Prosecutors said Khatab’s wedding was a farce, he paid Couldstock to marry him and after the wedding he lived in Sheffield, 150 miles away from his wife.

Khatab, of Scott Road, Pitsmoor, denied the claims and told officials he lived in Hatfield with Tracey.

He said he came to the UK in 2005 on a student visa and met Tracey at a party at her home in Hatfield.

He told police in September 2009 he left Sheffield and moved into her home.

He said they decided to get married and began dating after receiving permission to marry from the Home Office.

He told officers: “At that stage we had a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship.”

Khatab said after the wedding the marriage was consummated.

He told officers he worked as a security guard in Nottingham and would spend two-and-a-half hours driving 85 miles to work before returning to Hatfield.

He said that sometimes he stayed the night in Sheffield.

Khatab said the pair were together for about two years, but split up because he couldn’t get a job in Hatfield.

The trial continues.