Former soldier jailed for bigamy

By Steve GravenorA FORMER Army chef has been jailed for four months after he admitted being married to two women at the same time.Paul Swaby, who arrived at court yesterday with a new girlfriend on his arm, looked stunned as he was told the only punishment for deceiving his second wife was a prison sentence.

By Steve Gravenor

A FORMER Army chef has been jailed for four months after he admitted being married to two women at the same time.

Paul Swaby, who arrived at court yesterday with a new girlfriend on his arm, looked stunned as he was told the only punishment for deceiving his second wife was a prison sentence.

District Judge Kevin Gray was told Swaby had wed Donna Jones, 26, from Elmstead Market, near Colchester, while he had still been married to his first wife Penny, 22, from Colchester.


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The 24-year-old former soldier, who admitted bigamy, was told he had to pay for threatening the institution of marriage.

Mr Gray told him: “Throughout the whole process there was no illusion on your part that you were validly married.

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“You allowed your second wife to go through a lengthy process, even to the extent of purchasing a house together.”

He added: “The consequences and seriousness of marriage have not been diminished in any way, shape or form.

“The only sentence I can pass to protect this particular institution is one of custody.”

Swaby looked stunned as he was led away to start a four-month jail term. His parents Rick and Elaine and new girlfriend Katie also looked distraught as he was sent down.

The ex-solider, of Fiskerton Road, Reepham, near Lincoln, was caught after he left his second wife, Donna Jones, 10 months after they married.

Miss Jones uncovered her husband's bigamy after running credit checks on Swaby because she was concerned about their joint finances.

Jim Earle, prosecuting at Colchester Magistrates' Court, said: “She made inquiries which revealed the presence of a first Mrs Swaby whom he was still married to.”

He told the court Swaby had married his first wife Penny on April 6, 1998, and had had a daughter, Sharn, with him.

But Mr Earle added: “To all intents and purposes, the marriage broke down after six months.”

Swaby moved out and met Miss Jones while he was stationed at Carver Barracks near Saffron Walden.

He said the couple were together for 18 months before they arranged a wedding at the Rose and Crown Hotel in Colchester on June 15, 2001.

“Unfortunately, at the time, Swaby was not divorced from his wife. She was alive and well,” added Mr Earle.

Paul Tawn, mitigating, argued social attitudes towards marriage had changed.

He added: “He does appear to be a very immature young man. He has undoubtedly hurt the other parties involved, his second wife considerably more than the first.”

Miss Jones, who attended court yesterday, said after the hearing: “I'm very happy and very, very pleased it's all over and hope it teaches him a little bit of a lesson. I just want to get on with the rest of my life now.”

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