A woman whose husband disappeared after their marriage broke down was shocked when she saw he had shared photos of his wedding to a Gambian teen bride on Facebook.
To add insult to injury, the wedding took place at the same Gambian resort where she had married him seven years earlier.
After their marriage fell apart in 2007, Stephen Smith, a previously-divorced dad from North Yorkshire, fled without warning to Gambia in West Africa. His wife Nicolette Smith had no way of tracing him until she came across the Facebook evidence of her husband’s remarriage. Enraged, she shopped her bigamist spouse to the police.
But incredibly, the 52-year-old bacon factory worker claimed he was the victim – after his 19-year-old African bride abandoned him once they arrived in the UK, two days after the ceremony.
The judge seemed to agree, sparing Smith a jail term in favour of a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours community service.
The court heard that Smith had tried to petition for divorce the day before his ‘hasty’ wedding to the teen bride, but Nicolette’s signature on the document was fake, rendering the petition invalid. He admitted bigamy but said he had assumed that his divorce would be ‘automatic’.
Nicolette explained that when her husband disappeared in 2007 she was left with a mortgage which finally caused her to become bankrupt. She told the Daily Mail of her distress that Smith had been “portrayed as some kind of victim himself after all that he’s put me through,” claiming that he had forged her name because “he knew if he responded to my divorce petition, he’d give away where he’d been hiding.”
Judge Tony Briggs told Stephen Smith that he must now finalise his divorce from Nicolette Smith.