Lap dancer's three husbands jailed for bigamy scam

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The Independent Online
FIVE PEOPLE involved in Britain's biggest immigration marriage racket were jailed yesterday. The four men and one woman paid up to pounds 2,700 for marriages of convenience after fleeing Sierra Leone.

At Harrow Crown Court Judge Robert Sich said while he had sympathy for their unwillingness to return to their war-torn homeland, their crimes "struck at the whole foundation of the immigration system", and he had no option but to recommend that they be deported after their release.

The court had heard that three of those in the dock had all married a lap dancer, Susan Coates, 30. She landed herself a place in the record books as the country's busiest woman bigamist with a total of seven trips down the aisle in just 14 months. After all but one of the ceremonies she wrote to the Home Office, supporting applications by her various "husbands" to stay in Britain.

Coates, of Kilburn, northLondon, was also supposed to have been sentenced, but is currently in hospital awaiting an eye operation after being attacked and seriously injured.

All those she wed are believed to have been introduced to her by a suspected middle man still under investigation.

Coates's first and only legal wedding was to a 31-year-old Nigerian who has never been found. A month later it was Roland Ngegba's turn at Wandsworth Register Office.

The father of one, from north London, was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the Home Office. Husband number three was Tamba Gbondo, 30, also from north London, who received a similar sentence after admitting the same offence.

Gbondo's sister, Sia, who paid pounds 1,500 to Coates, also admitted conspiracy and was jailed for six months. The court heard there was more confetti for Coates in November 1995 with another man, who is also still on the run. In March 1996, Coates wed yet again when she married Boma Jumbo, 24, who failed to turn up in court yesterday. Coates made it number six in May 1996 when she married a 33-year-old man. Police are still looking for him.

Her last known husband was Osman Kamara, 43, from south- west London, who also admitted the conspiracy charge and was jailed for seven months.

The court heard Coates's friend Alison Morgan, 32 married Charles Kamara, 29, in October 1995. The father of one, who was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Home Office,was jailed for nine months.