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Sham marriage vicar faces jail

JAIL TIME: Vicar John Magumba warned he is facing time behind bars

A CHURCH of England vicar was warned that he may face jail after pleading guilty to performing over 30 sham marriages.

Reverend Canon Dr John Magumba carried out the bogus ceremonies at two churches in Manchester over a three-year period to allow illegal immigrants the right to stay in the UK.

The 58-year-old was granted bail at Bolton Crown Court, but judge Thomas Teague QC warned the Uganda-born vicar that he must expect to lose his liberty for some time," when he is sentenced on January 19.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of theft after he failed to declare income from weddings and funerals that he performed.

Magumba, who was a team vicar for three Rochdale churches, admitted the theft of £5,400 from St Peter's Church, Newbold, and £2,908 from St Luke's, Deeplish in Manchester.

He was suspended from the Church of England following his arrest in March.

"Reverend Canon John Magumba has pleaded guilty to contravening the Immigration Act by conducting irregular weddings and theft from churches," said a representative for the Diocese of Manchester.

"It is extremely rare for clergy to abuse the trust placed in them by their congregation, community and bishop.

"At present Magumba is suspended from ministry by the bishop. His suspension will continue while formal Church procedures begin into his conduct," they continued.

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