An Essex man has admitted to bigamy after his wife discovered he was married to someone else.
The man’s wife had become suspicious that her husband was still married shortly after their wedding in September. She hired a private investigator who found out that her husband had been married for 11 years before the couple’s relationship began.
Following this discovery, the second wife contacted the police and they began an official investigation. Her 48 year-old husband was soon arrested on bigamy charges. He admitted that he should have divorced his first wife before he remarried.
A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said that while they knew that the man’s relationship with his first wife had broken down “it’s not clear if he was carrying out a relationship with both women at the same time”.
Under English law, a marriage is considered ‘void’ if one of the parties has been married previously without obtaining a divorce or an annulment.
Additionally, people found guilty of bigamy can face up to seven years in prison, receive a fine or sometimes both. In this case, the husband was sentenced to a four month prison sentence which was suspended for 12 months. In addition, he was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work in the community, pay £160 in various fees.
There were 31 reports of bigamy across the country in 2011-12, according to the latest government figures. This was a noticeable drop from the 44 reports made in 2010-11.