A COUPLE who met on a dating website went on to tie the knot despite both failing to tell the other they were still married.
David Michael Bradley and former police officer Caroline Anita Baker began a relationship in January last year, several months after meeting via the Internet.
Durham Crown Court heard they moved in together and by July last year gave notice of their intention to marry at a registry office.
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Paul Reid, prosecuting, said both were asked if they were previously married or in a civil partnership and stated they were not, also declaring their intended spouse was “single”.
The registrar printed out the documents and both confirmed they were correctly compiled.
Mr Reid said they were married at a registry office on August 6, but by the end of the month police were contacted by Baker’s sister to report the situation.
Police spoke to Baker and she had separated from Bradley the previous day, little more than three weeks after their “marriage” ceremony.
Mr Reid said Baker told the officers she had discovered paperwork indicating Bradley was previously married.
Both were arrested and Baker told police she believed herself to be divorced from her husband, while Bradley had told her his own divorce was, “done and dusted”.
“As far as she was concerned she was divorced, but she had received no paperwork in confirmation,” Mr Reid told the court.
Mr Reid said her solicitors confirmed they were instructed to go through with divorce proceedings, but there had been no communication with her husband’s lawyers as he had been unco-operative.
Bradley said he had also instructed solicitors to commence divorce proceedings, but no progress was made.
He said Baker had asked him to marry her and he agreed he would, when he was divorced.
“Each, in interview, sought to tell police the other was responsible for persuading them.”
Baker, 43, of Grey Ridges, Brandon, County Durham, and 47-year-old Bradley, of Lobley Hill Road, Gateshead, both of previous good character, each admitted bigamy and perjury.
Joe Hedworth, for Bradley, who works shifts at a local glass manufacturing factory, said he is now, “greatly ashamed by his behaviour”.
Ian West, for Baker, said unlike other examples of bigamous marriages there was no “innocent party” in this case as both had not completed divorce proceedings.
“Her mistake was not awaiting her decree absolute. She moved too fast.”
Imposing four month prison sentences, in both cases suspended for nine months, with six months' probation supervision, Judge Christopher Prince said: “You each fell in love with the other and wished to enter into marriage, and you each decided to deceive the other and the registrar, saying you were not married.”
Both were also ordered to pay £300 costs and £80 statutory surcharge.