A CZECH man living in Newport married a Nigerian woman at the city’s register office in a “sham” union.

Robert Horvath, 35, of Commercial Road, Pill, Newport, and Uzoma Onwuha, 25, in a detention centre in London since January, were both jailed for 12 months by Judge Philip Richards.

Horvath had earlier pleaded guilty to assisting an unlawful immigrant to maintain their stay in the UK, and Onwuha to obtaining leave to enter or remain in the UK by deception. She faces deportation on release. Both must pay £225 costs.

Cardiff Crown Court was told Horvath received £1,000 for the marriage, intended to enable Onwuha to remain in the UK.

Her study visa was curtailed by the Home Office in late 2011 as she had ceased her studies at York. No appeal having been lodged, she was detained last January awaiting deportation.

She married Horvath, on June 17 last year. They gave notice of their intentions the previous month, when, said prosecuting counsel Martin Kelly, “it was noticed there was little interaction between them.”

Last November, police went to the supposed marital home in Cyril Street, Newport to establish the circumstances. “She was not living there but Robert Horvath was, with another Czech lady,” said Mr Kelly.

“He maintained the marriage was genuine but that she had left him as they had argued. He then admitted he had been paid £1,000 to marry her, after being approached by another man.”

John Meirion Davies, for Onwuha, said she had completed her studies, but not at York, graduating last November.

“She is deeply depressed and upset by the whole matter,” he said.

Abdul Shakoor, for Horvath, said the latter had been in UK since 2000, and had always worked, but had been laid off by Avana Bakeries when approached about the marriage.“He fully admits he has done wrong and would not go down that route again,” said Mr Shakoor.

Judge Richards told Horvath he was “greedy”, obtaining financial reward “from a woman who probably could scarcely afford that money.”

He told Onwuha: “You lost that money but were seeking by deception to gain advantage by evidently seeking a firmer base in the UK.”

He added: “There is enough criminal activity going on in the UK without this additional form, which is a money-making racket at its root, and causes a lot of pain to individuals who become involved with it.”