Irish Republican News · July 24, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI invade wedding, arrest couple, question guests

The PSNI in Derry have been accused of mixing sectarianism with racism as they interrupted a wedding ceremony between a local man and a woman who had moved to Ireland from China, and arrested the pair of them.


Neil McElwee and his pregnant fiancée Yanan Sun were getting ready to tie the knot at the Guildhall when the PSNI turned up. The couple were arrested and taken to a police station, where they were separated and told to change out of their wedding outfits and into forensic clothing.

The PSNI blamed an ‘anonymous tip-off’, but the groom said their actions had been suspicious.

“It just doesn’t add up - something on that scale based on an anonymous letter and some paperwork faxed through about two hours before the wedding. It just doesn’t happen like that,’ Mr Elwee told the BBC.

“An apology? It’s just no good -- apologies won’t give us our day back. It won’t make everything better.’

Yanan Sun should have been surrounded by friends and her new family at her wedding reception, enjoying the food her new husband and his best man had spent hours the night before preparing.

Instead, she was sitting in a police cell in borrowed clothes wondering if she would ever see the love of her life again.

The couple’s solicitor, Karina Breslin-Carlin, shared their anger.

“You can’t replace a man’s wedding day, you can’t replace a bride walking in on her wedding day to assembled guests. They will never get that moment back, they’ll never get those memories back,” she said.

Officials were well aware of her legitimate status in Ireland, she added.

“I’ll never forget lookin into the cell and seeing the figure of this wee, slight girl sitting in these out-sized clothes on her own with her hair and make-up all beautifully done for her wedding,” she said.

“The real mercy is that [their unborn child] is all right and out of this OK.”

When guests were finally freed after questioning they were told to go on to the reception at Ardgort House in Castlederg, County Tyrone, where they waited for news.

One described the atmosphere as being like that of a “wake house”. The couple married in a low-key ceremony the next day.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News