A bigamist was caught by his wife after she saw a photograph of him grinning with his new Gambian teenage bride on Facebook.
Nicolette Smith was further devastated when she noticed Stephen Smith, 52, had married Awa Jobarteh, 19, at the same African register office they tied the knot at seven years earlier.
Ms Smith (pictured below) then called the police, but incredibly her cheating former partner has avoided jail and claimed he was the victim.
The factory worker had been abandoned by his new young bride two days after arriving back in the UK, and she has never been traced.
Nicolette met her husband in 2001, after his first divorce, but has been left in financial ruin after their marriage breakdown.
She was declared bankrupt when Smith failed to pay the mortgage and is still waiting for her husband to sign divorce papers, Teesside Crown Court was told.
The 52-year-old was prosecuted for bigamy after he admitted ‘hastily’ rushing down the aisle with his third wife because he was in love.
The court heard that the day before the wedding Smith signed a petition for divorce from his second wife, which carried a signature purporting to be by Nicolette – but it was faked.
Nicolette admitted she was disappointed that he was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours’ unpaid work.
‘I feel as though he’s got away with this and has been portrayed as some kind of victim himself after all that he’s put me through. He knew if he responded to my divorce petition, he’d give away where he’d been hiding,’ she said.
Discussing the way he was dumped by his new bride she told The Sun: ‘She looked so young in the pictures and he looked a little pathetic. I don’t know what else he could have expected’.
Smith claimed he was a wronged victim, duped and abandoned by his latest spouse after he met her in Gambia, married her on November 7, 2012 and brought her to the UK.
Smith married his second wife in December 2005. The marriage broke down two years later.
He went missing and her solicitors received no reply in efforts to start divorce proceedings. She then reported him to the police when she found out that he’d remarried.
Smith admitted a charge of bigamy, his first crime but said he had thought he was divorced and that his divorce was ‘automatic’.
Robert Mochrie, defending, said: ‘This was a man who acted rather hastily. It is, you might think, absurd somebody is getting married on the same day they are handed a divorce certificate. If he’d waited just a few months perhaps, a divorce might well have been finalised,’ adding that Smith’s motive was love.
‘This defendant, born in 1961, was perhaps understandably taken by her and was keen to tie to knot,’ said Mr Mochrie.
‘He has been wronged. He was abandoned by his third wife. Her intentions were quite clearly to dupe a man of more senior years, as so often happens with men who travel to foreign lands to seek happiness.’
Judge Tony Briggs said he had ‘considerable sympathy’ for Smith’s second wife, prevented from divorcing him by his lack of co-operation. He said: ‘I can well understand her being extremely upset by the thought that you’d married again without the courtesy of going through a divorce with her.’
He did not know what was in the mind of Smith or his third wife, who has not been traced, adding that people were under a ‘very considerable and serious duty’ to divorce previous spouses before marrying again.
The judge also advised Smith, of Whitwell-on-the-Hill, North Yorkshire, to recognise reality and sort out his divorce.
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