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Turkish man sails 2,500 miles to UK to track down true love - only to face rejection and threat of arrest

IN HIS dreams, the story must have had a far happier ending.

After sailing 2,500 miles from Turkey in a 16ft yacht, Ramazan Noyan Culum imagined that the British woman he loved would be swept off her feet and accept his hand in marriage.

Instead, his eight-month odyssey took him to an immigration removal office in Sussex, with the object of his desire telling him he will be arrested if he comes anywhere near her.

Mr Culum, a 38-year-old Turkish businessman, was picked up by Customs officials in the Channel this week after sailing the length of Europe to win the affections of Courtney Murray, whom he met at a restaurant in Cyprus in 2005.

At the time, Ms Murray was working as a waitress on the island and only served Mr Culum once. It was enough for him to fall madly in love and he stole her number from the restaurant's wall.

His affections remained undimmed even after Ms Murray turned down his requests for a date and returned to her home where she later married.

Last year, Mr Culum found her on Facebook and began writing a blog about his plan to track her down.

He set out on April 23 from Turkey on his yacht, writing: "Courtney I come. Pray for me."

He wrote: "I spent my every second with her in my mind and in my dreams."

Addressing Ms Murray directly, he added: "I love you too much. The world is not beautiful without you. I don't want to continue to live without you. Will you marry me?" He eventually sailed into the Channel and was detained. Mr Culum, who once ran a mobile phone company, was taken to a deportation centre and will be sent back to Turkey.

The blog charts his infatuation with Ms Murray. At one stage, he raged: "You stupid girl, you didn't understand even why I come to the UK. I will come there, I will kneel down in front of you, I will kiss your hands and I will propose marrying me. You can marry me or you can imprison me. It's yours to decide." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent