Woosteresque 'chump' saved from jail

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The Independent Online

Rosie Wodehouse could at least take comfort last night from the words of her famous forebear after marrying a bigamist. As P G Wodehouse put it: "Chumps always make the best husbands."

The 33-year-old divorcée, whose father was a cousin of the comic novelist, found herself at the centre of a Wooster-esque farce yesterday when she intervened to save her beloved from prison after he "forgot" to mention that he was married to someone else.

Winchester Crown Court heard how Neil Pye, a double-glazing salesman, had wooed Ms Wodehouse after turning up at her home to give her a quotation for replacement windows. The smooth-talking entrepreneur moved into her home in a Hampshire village before leading his bride up the aisle, despite neglecting to mention that he already had a wife.

The court heard that Pye's dishonesty was revealed when a friend of his first wife asked her if she knew that he had remarried while their divorce was still going through the courts. Sentencing Pye, 33, who admitted a charge of bigamy and three counts of dishonesty, Judge Patrick Hooton said his fate rested in the hands of Ms Wodehouse. He said that if Pye had not been reconciled with Ms Wodehouse, he would have gone to jail.

Ms Wodehouse, of Goodworth, near Andover, told the court: "I have forgiven him and I intend to marry him." She said that she had had no inkling of his duplicity and only found out when police told her he had been arrested.

The court heard Pye had left his first wife in 1999 after their marriage crumbled but did not reveal his new relationship, saying he was renting a room from a landlady called "Rosie".

Pye and Ms Wodehouse were now cohabiting and were considering marriage since his divorce had gone through, the court was told.

The couple left the court without commenting, perhaps leaving the words of another Wodehouse to speak for them: "When you marry, grab a chump. Tap his forehead first, and if it rings solid, don't hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from the husbands having brains."

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