A man who told his family he had cancer in order to secretly marry another woman has been jailed for just three months, after years of lies.
Michael Eels told his wife Andrea and their three children that he had terminal cancer and was moving around 350 miles away for “the best treatment possible”. Instead he married another woman.
Alongside his prison sentence, Eels has been ordered to pay each woman £1,000 in compensation, and has been given an indefinite restraining order.
Eels ‘revealed’ his terminal condition on a family holiday but married Sally Howard in 2009 and moved from East Sussex to Northumberland.
In order to cover up his lies, he would return to his family home in Eastbourne for a few days each month.
The second marriage was uncovered after Sally opened a Christmas card sent by Andrea to Eels and contacted her over Facebook. They met and soon discovered they were both married to the same man.
During the trial, Andrea gave a victim impact statement, saying: “Finding out that my husband had remarried came as a great shock. I genuinely believed he was suffering from jugular cancer.
“This caused me stress and worry. I had no one to talk to as I had to remain strong for our children. My children have been left without a father and no financial or emotional support.”
Speaking after the sentencing, she said: “I am devastated he only got three months. I was hoping for up to seven years. It’s better than nothing, but he’s only going to do it again”, claiming that he was already engaged to another woman.
Ant and Dec
Last month, another bigamist was jailed for just six months after he was spotted with his ‘second wife’ on national TV.
Daniel Gundry was spotted by his wife Helen when he appeared on the ITV show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway alongside Susan Brooker.
Each year in England and Wales there are on average 18 prosecutions for cases of bigamy, according to the BBC.