The Castlederg couple who were arrested on their wedding day and accused of having a ‘sham’ wedding have rejected an apology from the police officers involved in the operation and have declined the offer of a night away paid for out of the officers’ own pockets.
Neil McElwee and his bride Yanan Sun, who went on to exchange their wedding vows on Wednesday, said the entire experience had been “surreal” and they were now trying to gain back a sense of normality.
He revealed the stress of the ordeal - where they were arrested in Derry’s Guildhall in front of 50 wedding guests- led Yanan to fear for the health of the couple’s unborn baby.
“Yanan is just exhausted now. Thankfully the baby seems to be fine. We had a scan to make sure, but Yanan is just worn out.”
Of the apology and offer of a paid break away by police, Neil said: “It’s just too little, too late. For what they put us through. It was hell. Absolute hell.”
Both Yanan and Neil found themsef at a centre of a media frenzy on Friday after the Derry Journal exclusively revealed how their wedding had been stopped by police, who were acting alongside the UK Borders Agency.
The couple’s story made the headlines in almost every national paper over the weekend and was reported as far away as Detroit, USA and Brazil.
“The whole experience has been crazy. It has been like watching it happen to someone else and now we just want to get on with our day to day lives.”
The couple’s solicitor, Ms Karina Breslin-Carlin said she would be meeting with the couple this week to take instructions.
“We have to act now because if we don’t we have no doubt this will happen again. That cannot be allowed to happen.”