A Shefford man narrowly avoided a spell in prison when being sentenced for bigamy.
Daniel Jenkins, 36, of River View, appeared at Luton Magistrates’ Court last week and pleaded guilty to the charge.
The court heard that on April 24, 2015, carpenter Jenkins married Amy Box at Bedford Register Office while officially still in a union with his first wife.
The offence only came to light when Jenkins’s first wife Nicola went to the family court in September last year in order to begin divorce proceedings.
She was informed that he had married again and she would need to resolve the criminal matters before she would be allowed to fully divorce him.
The prosecution stated: “She sought guidance from a family solicitor who advised her to contact the police which she did.
“His partner Amy Box reports that she had met Mr Jenkins about two years earlier. He had said to her, ‘I’d love to marry you’, and asked several times... because of his thoughtfulness and consideration, she took the decision to marry him. ”
The pair married at Bedford Register Office on April 24, 2015 in the presence of all their families.
The prosecution went on: “Amy had asked whether he had been married to Nicola because her name was tattooed on his ring finger. But each time, he said he had never been married to Nicola and had only lived with her.
“Never for one second did she know he was married. When it came to light, she mistrusted him and asked him to leave, although they have since reconciled.”
Jenkins was interviewed by police on March 27 and admitted he had married two women. He stated he had received several official letters through the post and that as far as he knew, wife Nicola had sorted out the divorce.
He also admitted that when asked by the registrar, he had lied about having never been married and said this was because Amy was with him at the time and he did not want to be caught out.
The prosecution added: “He said he should have done more to confirm he was divorced before proceeding into the second marriage. He said he’d sign about a dozen official letters and believed he was divorced.”
Defending Jenkins, Matthew Lippard said: “He was contacted about divorce papers but simply assumed the divorce had gone through. He then met this lady and fell very much in love. He wanted to support her, as a result they undertook to get married.
“He fully accepts that he did not undertake sufficient enquiries to find out if his divorce had gone through.
“His life is in a significantly different period now... he owns a property with this lady. They have a child together and he’s very much set up a life with her.”
Jenkins was given a three month prison sentence suspended for a year, 250 hours’ unpaid work and £645 costs.