A LORRY driver who pleaded guilty to bigamy after he married a woman from Paignton has been sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Michael Evans, 62, of Rochester, Kent, appeared at Torquay Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The court heard Evans married Ann Sanderson on June 2, 2012, after meeting her on the internet in 2011.
He proposed to her in Torquay in January 2012, on the first weekend they had met in person.
She accepted even though she knew he was still married to Amy Evans, who he had married in September 1970.
Prosecutor Mike French said: “Mr Evans told Miss Sanderson he was in the process of divorcing in January. They married at Dart Valley Railway in the company of friends and family in June.
“Miss Sanderson was contacted by the defendant’s son who said he was still married to his original wife. She challenged him and he said it was all lies.
“Miss Sanderson started to get letters from a third woman. They claimed he was in a bigamous marriage and also that he was in a relationship with her.
“Miss Sanderson confronted him again and he said he was still married and in love with this third lady and he wanted to be with her.”
In mitigation, Alan Parson said Evans, who lives with his wife and pays rent to her, and who has two grown-up children, had made a ‘foolish mistake’.
He said: “Towards the latter stages of the marriage, there were considerable issues.
“There had been talk of divorce, and he thought his wife was doing the paperwork.
“He met Miss Sanderson and things progressed extremely rapidly. They rented an address in Ivybridge and he paid the rent and bills entirely.
“They were together in Dartmouth and saw an advert with regard to getting married at Dart Valley Railway. They were told there was one weekend free in June and a special price. On the spur of the moment, they decided to take that offer up. Mr Evans set about paying for the marriage.
“He took on a car loan and she continues to have the use of that vehicle.”
The magistrates retired for 20 minutes to consider a sentence.
When they returned, Evans was told: “There has been no suggestion from anyone that the second marriage had been entered into for financial gain and we understand you’re no longer in contact with Miss Sanderson.
“We consider both ladies must have endured considerable hurt.
“We’re proposing to make a community order for 12 months.”
As well as being ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, Evans was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and costs of £85.