A soldier’s husband who assisted his Nigerian brother to arrange a sham marriage has walked free from court.

Gbenga Abijo, 30 provided financial support for his sibling and also picked up his ‘bride to be’ from Gatwick airport after she flew in from Portugal.

But after hearing how he had not played an integral role in the attempt to get his brother permanent residence a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Tuesday the case related to the attempt by Mukaila Abijo and Vanessa Mendes to marry in February 2013. The ceremony never went ahead as register office staff were suspicious. Immigration officers detained them.

Mukaila Abijo, 28, of Botley, Oxford, has already been jailed for two years and Mendes, 22, for 16 months. They were also deported.

Gbenga Abijo, of Melsome Road, Lyneham, faced the same conspiracy charge but it was dropped when he admitted attempting to assist an unlawful immigration.

Mr Meeke said Gbenga Abijo allowed his brother to pretend to be him to get work. He also provided money and was involved in the arrival of Mendes, who was to be paid to be his brother’s wife.

Keith Hadrill, defending, said his client came to the UK in 2002 with his wife, who is in the Royal Logistics Corps.

“What he thought was an act of mercy for his brother has brought shame on him and his family,” he said.

Judge Douglas Field imposed a four-month jail term suspended for a year.