Bigamist exposed by Facebook Ice Bucket Challenge
A bigamist was caught out when his first wife discovered his secret second marriage – on Facebook. ‘Shameless liar’ Andrew O’Clee, 36, wed Michelle Agbulos – and later tied the knot again with another woman. But Michelle, 39, uncovered the deception when she came across footage of him completing the ice bucket charity challenge on the social networking site.
Serial cheat O’Clee had tried to cover his tracks by claiming he was involved in a fraud case and had been put into the witness protection programme which meant he had to live in a ‘safe house’ for long periods. Blinded by her belief in his honesty, Michelle allowed herself to be taken in by his elaborate lies, agreeing not to tell her family and friends what was happening.
Yesterday the former soldier was jailed for eight months after a court heard about the web of ‘lies and forgery’ lasting four years.
O’Clee tied the knot with first wife Michelle in 2008. But while they were trying for a baby together, he had already started his double life with a new woman. He later turned up at the birth of his daughter, Amelia, and cut the umbilical cord – before telling his wife he had to leave with a police escort. But instead of heading to a so-called safe house, he would leave their rented flat in Ealing, West London to go back to finance manager Philippa Campbell in upmarket Chiddingfold, Surrey – a 40-mile journey away.
He started the affair with Philippa after claiming his first marriage had ended after he caught shopworker Michelle being unfaithful. He married again in August 2013 – even forging divorce documents so his family would attend the second wedding. O’Clee’s lavish illegal nuptials took place in St John the Baptist church in Kirdford, West Sussex, before the reception at Russets Country House, near their detached £575,000 home.
But the deception was uncovered last August when Michelle discovered a video of him on Facebook completing the ice bucket challenge – where people are filmed being drenched in freezing water for charity. It was captioned ‘Uncle Andrew and Auntie Philippa’. The post led her to photos of his second wedding, which she reported to police.
Yesterday O’Clee was jailed after admitting bigamy at Chichester Crown Court. But second wife Philippa, 30, has vowed to stay with him. Judge Christopher Parker, QC, told O’Clee: ‘You began to develop a complicated and absurd lie.
‘All of which was a complete nonsense but it enabled you to lead a double life.
‘Bigamy is an offence against the institution of marriage, an institution founded on complete trust.
This was simply a selfish act.’
To avoid detection, O’Clee told Michelle he had been placed in witness protection and had to live in a safe house as his life was in danger. She told the court: ‘Thinking back, as I do every single minute of every single day, I had no reason not to trust Andrew.
‘I was told he would have to be taken to a safe house with his colleagues for his and my own safety.
‘He was taken to a safe house every night and I wasn’t allowed to know the location.
‘I was told by him not to tell my family or friends. I became paranoid and constantly fearful for my safety.
‘Looking back I feel completely stupid and naive for not thinking something was wrong. I believed my life was in danger.’
Michelle went into labour 18 months after he began his safe-house lie.
But O’Clee took five hours to turn up – and then cut the umbilical cord before saying he had to leave with police. She added: ‘The day I found out about the bigamy was the day my world fell apart and the violent betrayal unfolded.
‘To add insult to injury he instructed me to take a paternity test.’
Defending, Patrick Duffy said O’Clee – who worked for business services provider ISS – has ‘abandonment issues’ because his parents split when he was 15. He said second wife Philippa planned to continue her relationship with him and wished ‘to draw a line under this and get on with her life’. O’Clee admitted to one count of bigamy and is expected to serve half of his sentence in custody. Michelle is currently staying with her sister Jasmine Agbulus and her partner Sean in a house in Lancashire and refused to comment about her two-timing husband. She used to live in a rented flat in Ealing, West London, with O’Clee and the landlord became so suspicious of his behaviour that he hired a private investigator to check on the pair. The owners were alerted to the fact that nobody was living in the flat when neighbours complained about a foul smell coming from the property – which turned out to be rotting food in the fridge. A spokesperson for the letting agents said: ‘I’m glad that he’s been caught out. We knew there was something strange going on.
‘The fact he didn’t want us speaking to his wife was very weird.
‘We got in touch with Philippa and she said, ‘Yes that’s my husband’ but she knew nothing about the flat.
‘He called us and said, ‘Don’t speak to Philippa anymore it’s a sensitive matter.’
O’Clee cleared out all their belongings, including his old army uniforms, from the flat in October last year, according to the spokesman. Neighbours living at the block of flats in Ealing said they remember Michelle, as well as her ‘energetic’ husband. One neighbour said: ‘Yes I heard he had multiple wives. He was always on the go and very energetic.’ Another added: ‘Michelle used to live here. She would always say hi when I saw her in the street. It’s awful what he did to her.’
source: Daily Mail