Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Police sorry for disrupting wedding

Neil McElwee and his Chinese bride Yanan Sun
Neil McElwee and his Chinese bride Yanan Sun

Police in Northern Ireland were left red-faced after they ruined a wedding in the false belief that it was a sham.

Neil McElwee, 24, and Chinese pregnant bride Yanan Sun, 19, were seething after being taken away for questioning as they were about to complete the marriage ceremony in Londonderry on Tuesday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) apologised for the raid, which Mr McElwee said was based upon an anonymous letter sent to the Guildhall in the city.

The chef, from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, said: "It was absolutely disgraceful. My wife is five-and-a-half months pregnant and they just treated her in a disgusting fashion."

Police released the couple several hours later. A total of five people were arrested but four were later freed without charge including the bride and groom. One woman was detained by the UK Border Agency over her immigration status.

Mr McElwee said: "It is just a disgrace and a shambles, the police know it was a shambles themselves. We did not get to our reception until 8.30pm at night. I won't be happy until I get a proper explanation."

The couple intend to lodge complaints with Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson, the UK Border Agency and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr McElwee said: "An apology? It's just no good - apologies won't give us our day back. It won't make everything better."

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police made five arrests in Derry city centre on July 19 relating to a UK Border Agency investigation of a suspected sham marriage. Four people, including the bride and groom, were released without charge and one woman was detained by the UK Border Agency in relation to her immigration status.

"Police have apologised to the couple and their families for any undue upset or distress caused."

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