Serial bigamist spared jail – now she's getting divorced

Judge accuses former model of 'undermining the institution of marriage'
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The Independent Online

A serial bigamist was spared jail yesterday despite a judge warning that she was calculating, impulsive and had undermined the institution of marriage. Emily Horne, 30, who has been wed five times, was given a 10-month suspended sentence after she admitting committing bigamy for a fourth time.

Speaking outside the court with her latest boyfriend at her side, the former glamour model – who was jailed for six months after being convicted of the same offence in 2004 – said she felt "great" to be free and claimed to have been "vindicated" by the outcome of the case. She said she now planned to divorce her first and only legal husband.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said he decided against imposing the 10-month jail term because of the progress Horne had made in her treatment for bipolar disorder. He urged the former physics student to build on her new-found stability and leave behind her previous life. He said many people would be disturbed by her behaviour. "I take the view that it undermines the institution of marriage when someone like you conducts marriages at the drop of a hat," he added. "It is quite clear you are someone who is impulsive. You contracted all your marriages after a short time. It is also clear you are someone who is very manipulative. You knew what you were doing."

Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told that Horne suffered severe emotional trauma following the death of her sister and on learning that her first husband, a former soldier, had a conviction for helping dispose of the body of a 15-year-old girl. Having tied the knot for the first time at the age of 18, she married a further three times over the next five years.

Paul Hodgkinson, in mitigation, apologised for the pain and distress Horne caused her victims and their families. He said she had not annulled her first marriage because she was unwilling to get in touch with her first husband. "Her decision-making was affected by her mental health," he said. "She is an attention-seeker and she is a lady with emotional problems but she has had to put up with a great deal of trauma in her life," he said. Mr Hodgkinson told the court Horne had a new partner and had been doing well since she was prescribed with lithium and would not receive the same medical care in jail.

Horne's latest illegal marriage, to Ashley Baker, took place at Chadderton Register Office near Oldham in 2007 after the couple had known each other for just four months. Police found out about it when she made a false complaint about her "husband's" behaviour. Horne told Mr Baker about her previous marriages as they prepared to go on honeymoon to Scotland, insisting that they were wed "in her heart" even if not in the eyes of the law.

Horne, who now lives in the West Midlands, was eventually arrested by officers from North Yorkshire. She was released on bail pending further inquiries but went missing until she was re-arrested.

Detective Constable Colette Kelleher, of Oldham CID, said: "Why she did this is unclear, and it does not appear she did it for any kind of financial gain or ulterior motive."

She added: "Bigamy is not something to be sniggered at or brushed under the carpet. It is a very serious offence and the lives of five men have been severely affected by Horne's selfish and quite frankly, cruel, actions."