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Fugitive bigamist behind bars

PUBLISHED: 14:47 02 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 30 June 2010

A fugitive bigamist, who was married to two Norfolk women at the same time, is behind bars after more than four years on the run.

Michael Whatmough, who at one time worked at the Norfolk Bowls Club, in Unthank Road, Norwich, with third wife Carolyn, was arrested by officers at Heathrow Airport as he returned to the country after a holiday in Hong Kong with his latest fiancée.

A fugitive bigamist, who was married to two Norfolk women at the same time, is behind bars after more than four years on the run.

Michael Whatmough, who at one time worked at the Norfolk Bowls Club, in Unthank Road, Norwich, with third wife Carolyn, was arrested by officers at Heathrow Airport as he returned to the country after a holiday in Hong Kong with his latest fiancée.

Following his detention, he was brought back before magistrates, who heard he had completed just four hours of the 180-hour community order he was given in 2005 after it was revealed he had married Carolyn while still married to second wife Melanie.

At the end of the hearing, he was remanded in custody to await sentence later this month.

Speaking after his initial conviction, Carolyn told the Mercury's sister paper, the Evening News she met Whatmough through a singles' ad in December 2000, and after a month he moved from Martham to her Felixstowe home.

The couple married and moved together to Norwich where they became live-in employees at the Norfolk Bowls Club.

Carolyn said: "He told me he was an Army chef and that he'd only left the Army when he was 40. I have since found out he had only been in the Army for two years, so it was all lies.”

The relationship soured and one morning Whatmough disappeared without warning.

Carolyn moved to Suffolk, and spent two-and-a-half years tracking him down, but it was not until she contacted Melanie to sort out divorce papers that the two horrified women discovered they had been married to the same man at the same time.

Speaking in 2005, Melanie, who was a dinner lady at West Flegg Middle School in Martham, said: “I had been married to him for 14 years and I had no idea. I was gobsmacked when Carolyn rang me.”

Whatmough married Melanie in Boughton, after meeting in Brighton where she was living and he was working, and the couple had four children together before Whatmough moved on.

Melanie said: “He just picked up his stuff and moved out when nobody was at home. He did not leave a note saying where he was going. He also left his job at the First and Last pub in Ormesby.”

Carolyn said Whatmough told her he had been divorced from Melanie for four years, and that he had two children, when in fact he had four with Melanie and a further three from his first marriage.

In 2005, Whatmough originally denied the charge of bigamy, but changed his plea to guilty on the day of the trial at Ipswich Crown Court, and was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work.

Both Carolyn and Melanie were furious at the sentence, claiming he deserved jail for the pain and anguish he had caused.

Following his arrest at Heathrow he appeared before Swansea magistrates on Wednesday - his 61st birthday - and admitted breaching the order.

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