Hubby’s secret life revealed on Facebook
London – Like all married couples, Yvonne and Maurice Gibney had their ups and downs.She had read rumours about his possible infidelity on Facebook, but remained confident it was just gossip and that he wasn’t cheating on her while he worked away in Oman.
That is until she discovered pictures of the father of two getting married to another woman on a beach in the Arab state.
Unbeknown to Mrs Gibney, 55, the oil contractor had been living a double life with teacher Suzanne Prudhoe, 46.It later transpired the couple had been an item for at least 18 months before their £45 000 beach ceremony at the British Embassy in March last year.
Furious at his betrayal, Mrs Gibney, a nurse, turned detective and discovered her husband had even lied to his own mother, who walked him down the aisle, and step-daughter, who was a bridesmaid, to convince them he was already divorced.
On Thursday, Mrs Gibney spoke of the “pain and hurt” she had suffered as her ex, who earns £85 000(R1 498 329) a year tax free, walked away from court after admitting bigamy. Instead of sending him to jail, a judge gave him a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
“At the time of the bigamous wedding we had been married 17 years,” she said. “I believed in our marriage and shared values, trust, love and respect for each other, a sense of morality.“I loved him unconditionally and believed that love was reciprocated. I simply don’t have the words to effectively convey the pain and hurt and sense of betrayal.”
Wirral Magistrate’s Court heard that Mrs Gibney discovered her husband’s terrible secret in February last year.
After spotting comments on Facebook, she was astonished when she clicked through to Miss Prudhoe’s profile and discovered photographs of her husband, 49, dressed in a cream linen suit, kissing and gazing into the eyes of his new bride.
She was dressed in an elegant embroidered white dress and carrying a bouquet of white roses. Other pictures showed the couple exchanging vows under a white gazebo on a sandy beach, a tiered wedding cake and place settings, which simply said “The groom Maurice” and “The bride Suzanne March 2013”.
Mrs Gibney told the court she had been in daily contact with her husband – who she met while working in Nigeria nearly 20 years ago – in the lead-up to the illegal marriage. She said they had exchanged 11 emails on mundane domestic matters, such as new bed linen, the day before.
When she tried to contact him on the big day, he told her he was “unwell”, but later claimed to have been out cycling. “I had no knowledge of Suzanne Prudhoe’s existence or relationship with my husband,” Mrs Gibney said.
The court heard that Gibney’s mother, Gina, 76, and other relatives had also been duped into believing he was already divorced.
Mrs Gibney subsequently discovered the affair had been going on for at least 18 months. At Christmas in 2011 she flew to Oman to see her husband, but he claimed to be away on business. It turned out he had flown back to the UK to spend time with Miss Prudhoe at her home in Stourbridge, West Midlands.
The following year he promised he would spend Christmas at the couple’s £500 000 detached home, in Wirral, but pulled out at the last minute because he was “depressed”. Mrs Gibney said she later found out he had been with Miss Prudhoe.Gibney had claimed that he thought he could marry because he had begun divorce proceedings with his first wife.
Sentencing him, District Judge Michael Abelson told him: “You initiated into a bigamous marriage, you knew precisely what you were doing at the time you did it, there was no hiding it.”The Gibneys have since divorced. The parents of Miss Prudhoe said the family did not wish to comment.