A British soldier has been fined £1,500 after admitting to bigamy.
On Monday, the South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard that the armed forces veteran had been “swept along” with his fiancée’s wedding plans and “did not know what to say or what to do” about the fact that he had not divorced his first wife.
His first marriage took place in 2000 but the couple separated just two years later. Their marriage could not “survive the trauma” of his wife, who has not been named, suffering nine miscarriages. The devastated woman reportedly demanded a divorce several times but he refused. However, following a six-month deployment in Afghanistan the soldier returned home to find his wife had left him and moved out of their home.
He began a new relationship in 2007 and while he told her that he had been married before, his new partner believed that it had legally ended. After another six-month tour of Afghanistan, he came home to find that she had pushed ahead with their wedding plans and they duly married in April 2013.
However his second wife began to have doubts about whether he had actually divorced and eventually confronted him about it. The soldier then confessed he had not, a revelation which left her feeling “bereaved”.
His legal counsel told the Court that the man was guilty of “burying his head in the sand to a level that was incomprehensible”. Meanwhile, the soldier admitted he had let down his second wife. He was ordered to pay a fine as well as £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £150.
Last year, an Essex man was found guilty of bigamy after his wife found that he had been married to another woman for 11 years. He received a four month prison sentence suspended for four months and was ordered to do 100 hours of community service. During his hearing, the man admitted he should have divorced before he remarried.
Photo by arsheffield via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.