A woman accused of being paid to take part in a sham marriage has told a jury she did not know her husband’s immigration status.
Sabrina Khan, of Wade Close, Broom, Rotherham, is one of five people on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of a ‘sham marriage’ plot.
Khan, aged 29, said she met co-defendant Umair Hussain, aged 28, of Scott Road, Pitsmoor, in a furniture shop in October 2011.
They married the following month.
She said: “I always wanted to be successful in my career, but as I got older my thoughts started to change and I wanted to settle down like any woman would.
“I didn’t want Umair as a boyfriend. I wanted to settle down. I thought to myself I’m not getting any younger.”
The court heard Hussain made a series of payments into Khan’s bank account, beginning on October 4, 2011, for £300, continuing until a final payment of £100 in July 2012.
Khan told the jury she began claiming benefits in February 2012 when she and Hussain separated.
She said she used money from her ‘successful’ brother, a consultant in Dubai, to buy expensive designer handbags which cost £700 to £800 at a time.
When asked why Hussain was giving her money, she said he had taken out an iPhone contract in her name and he was giving her money for it.
Khan said her parents did not know about her marriage, telling jurors: “They would not have approved. For my family, career is important. They would never have accepted a man who was a student. Umair would never have been good enough for them.”
Khan said she asked Hussain to buy her a dress from House of Fraser and rings from Argos to avoid detection by friends and family.
That was also the reason the ceremony was held in Leicester, she said.
Khan said: “If anybody had seen me with Umair I’d have been questioned who he is to me, where is he from. I didn’t want to be seen and quizzed.”
Khan said she did not know Hussain’s immigration status before the wedding, but took her passport to a solicitor’s office to help him make an application to stay in the country after the wedding.
Khan was also asked about Facebook messages to her friend Keeley Cox in which she said: “I am going to grass on them and yes it was worth it because you could have had four grand.”
She admitted knowing Ms Cox was considering entering into a sham marriage, but said the row related to £4,000 Ms Cox could have earned if she had worked for Khan’s mobile beauty company.
Two defendants Gul Khatab and Tracy Coulstock who were originally part of the case are to be tried separately at a later date.
The trial continues.