Woman discovers husband's bigamy and secret life after seeing photo of bride who wasn't her
A woman has described the moment she discovered her husband was a bigamist who had been living a secret life 100 miles away.
Yve Gibney, now 60, can remember staring in disbelief at a wedding day photo of her spouse - showing a woman who wasn't her.
She had met husband Maurice in Nigeria and they had married after a three-month romance, Birmingham Live reports.
But, after 17 years of marriage, she discovered her other half had met another woman who lived in Stourbridge, Worcestershire.
Yve, from Wirral, Merseyside, is now speaking out about the bigamy, calling the overwhelming emotion "absolute betrayal".
Oil worker Maurice, who is still married to the second woman, Suzanne Prudhoe, received a suspended sentence for the crime in 2014.
Both women were blissfully innocent and unaware of the subterfuge surrounding them, with Suzanne said to have believed he was divorced.
Yve, who is now writing a book, said: "The overwhelming emotion is one of absolute betrayal. It’s not just an affair.
"Marriage is a declaration of love and commitment.
"When you believe you’re in a contented relationship it’s not something you can ever contemplate.
"I was a victim of bigamy and I was emotionally scarred, but it doesn’t define me and I chose not to stay a victim.
"The best thing that came out of this, is that I and my sons are free of him."
Yve and Maurice's marriage was never conventional, as they spent long periods apart due to his jet-setting work.
And they were in the throes of getting divorced when the true depths of his deception was discovered.
She added: "With hindsight, for us to have lived apart we had to have a tremendous amount of trust
"It wasn’t the traditional marriage, but for us, it worked.
"I trusted him and loved him unconditionally and I felt that he loved me back in the same way."
Yve first met Maurice when she was working as a nurse and he was a quantity surveyor.
She had a son, he had a daughter, but neither had been married before.
They had begun life as man and wife overseas before Yve returned home while Maurice continued to work in the Middle East.
The arrangement seemed to work - or, rather, she believed it worked.
And it took 17 years before that security was stained by suspicion and doubt.
Yve said: "His trips home became shorter and more infrequent which he put down to the pressures of work."
Maurice had met teacher Suzanne in Oman in September 2011.
They were engaged eight months later and married in March, 2013. It was a lavish, Sh6.864 million (£45,000) ceremony in the country they had met.
Just two months before that wedding, Yve and Maurice had decided to end their own marriage, but were still legally an item.
Yve then describes the dreadful day, in April, 2013, that she discovered her husband had again walked down the aisle.
She said: "I was looking at some of his family’s Facebook pages and I saw his sister wearing a fascinator and his other sister all dressed up in wedding attire.
"I had this bizarre gut feeling that my husband had married someone else, but my friend said, ‘don’t be ridiculous'. But I couldn’t shake that feeling."
In a 2019 interview with 'This Morning', Yve said: "I knew it was him, but I couldn’t believe it was him. I rang my friend and said, ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing’."
Yve’s gut-feeling was accurate. The lie that had been Maurice’s life was eventually exposed by a simple hire-car booking.
She said: "I was getting worried because he wasn’t replying to texts and had said he was feeling quite depressed.
"He told me he was too depressed to come home. It turns out, he actually was in England and had registered a hire car to an address in Stourbridge.
"I searched the names online and found the guy who lived there on LinkedIn.
"He was a partner in a gas and oil construction company which had offices in Birmingham and Oman which was the field my husband worked, so I assumed they were friends and he had gone there to recover while he was depressed.
"I rang the family in Stourbridge and made up a story about the car hire. In the conversation he said to me, ‘Maurice is my brother-in-law’.
"It didn’t make sense. He then said, ‘when Maurice comes back to England he always stays with us’.
"His new family were completely unaware of my existence, he had told them we were divorced for several years and had kept it a secret to protect our son.”
In hindsight it now all makes sense - but Yve said the duplicity still stings.
She said: "For Maurice’s first Christmas in Oman, my son and I travelled 3,000 miles to spend the holidays with him, but he told us he had to work in the desert.”
"I later discovered, after tracing email IP addresses, he had actually spent Christmas in Stourbridge with Suzanne Prudhoe and her family, having only met her three months before.
"He left me and my son in Oman even though we had flown out to be with him."
Yve's book is being prepared for publication to be released in late March.
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