Judge blows cool on bigamy

BIGAMY is no longer a serious offence, according to a judge, who gave a double bigamist a three-month suspended jail sentence yesterday, writes Marianne Macdonald.

Judge Graham Neville told Exeter Crown Court that bigamy 'once was a serious offence' but that attitudes had changed because divorces had become so easy to get.

His comments came after Jay Vanderton, a 47-year-old market trader from Glastonbury, Somerset, was convicted of bigamy following his marriage to his fourth 'wife', Pauline Gilbert.

Mrs Gilbert, 45, a secretary from Maidstone, Kent, told the court that shortly after her marriage to Mr Vanderton she discovered he had two wives already. She became suspicious after speaking to 19-year-old Zena Stevens.

'It took a while to put two and two together and see the truth. He told me Zena had been his girlfriend and she was a much younger woman so I had no reason to suspect he was lying to me,' Mrs Gilbert told the court.

Soon after she discovered that Mr Vanderton had not just one wife extant, but two.

Mrs Gilbert added: 'The fact is that I have been lied to from day one. The whole marriage was full of lies. He is incapable of telling the truth.'