Bigamist avoids jail

A WOMAN has admitted a charge of bigamy after marrying her childhood sweetheart before divorcing her previous husband.

Elliot Furniss

A WOMAN has admitted a charge of bigamy after marrying her childhood sweetheart before divorcing her previous husband.

Sally Bailey, 48, broke down in tears when she was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

The hearing was told how she married for a third time at a Clacton hotel on May 19 last year - despite not having a decree nisi or decree absolute from her previous marriage.

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Instead, she used the legal documents which ended her first marriage in 1989 to convince officials she was free to wed Glen Bickers, who she first met 40 years before.

The court heard that Bailey, of Fordham Close, Barnet, Hertfordshire, had admitted using the incorrect decree absolute at an earlier hearing after being charged by police.

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Prosecutor Richard Stephens said: “Some sort of information reached the ears of the authorities and the matter was reported to the police after investigation.

“When interviewed, she acknowledged that she had used the decree absolute from her first divorce but she also mentioned that she assumed that the paperwork relating to her second marriage had gone through.”

As she had ended her second marriage, Bailey got back in touch with Mr Bickers, a former love from their schooldays, through the Friends Reunited website and they quickly made plans to stay together and get married.

The court heard that Bailey suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and was a carer for her father, who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Recorder Philip Brook Smith also heard that her sister had died just months after the third marriage ceremony, which has now been wiped from the records.

In sentencing, he told a tearful Bailey that he had taken into account the “considerable and substantial upheaval” she had been through in the past year and referred to a letter written by Mr Bickers.

He said: “He (Mr Bickers) describes the circumstances in which you and he re-discovered each other and what he describes as a commitment for the future, despite what has happened.”

He said Bailey had shown “considerable remorse” and had taken full responsibility for the offence and that he was satisfied there would be “no purpose whatsoever” in imposing a custodial sentence.

She was handed a nine month community order and was ordered to pay £500 costs.

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