A bigamist tagged in pictures on Facebook of his second wife while doing an ice bucket challenge was caught by his first one.
‘Lies and forgery’ landed Andrew O’Clee in jail after his first wife saw tagged pictures of his with his second wife on Facebook. He had been cheating on his wife for the last four years.
Andrew O’Clee, 36, was married to Michelle – but he also later married Philippa, his second wife.
In order to convince his mother and brother to attend his second wedding, he faked a decree absolute to show that he had divorced Michelle.
He later told his first wife that he would have to be away from home for long periods, as he was involved in a scam and had to enter the Witness Protection Program.
At the birth of their child, he showed up briefly five hours late before cutting the umbilical cord and then left with the police.
However, O’Clee got entangled in his own web of “lies and forgery” after four years when he was tagged in a Facebook post.
A video of O’Clee taking a ice bucket challenge which captioned “uncle Andrew and auntie Philippa” appeared on the social network, which was later seen by Michelle. On further researching, she found pictures of his second wedding on Facebook and reported it to police.
O’Clee, of Chiddingfold, Surrey, was jailed for eight months at Chichester Crown Court for polygamy.
Judge Christopher Parker QC said: “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. ”
“The question is, why on earth would you do it? You are a shameless liar, happy to have as much comfort wherever you could find it.
“Bigamy is an offence against the institution of marriage, an institution founded on complete trust. This was simply a selfish act.”
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O’Clee met Michelle in 2000 and they later married in 2008. He started his affair with second wife in 2011, while he and Michelle were still trying for a baby.
He then later told her that he would have to spend long periods in a safe house, as he had seen a scam and was in witness protection as his life was in danger.
Michelle told the court: “Thinking back, as I do every single minute of every single day, I had no reason not to trust Andrew. In 2012, he told me he had a new job and work was involved in fraudulent issues.
“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.”
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Michelle went into labour 18 months after he started his safe-house lie and he turned up for the delivery five hours late.
He left after cutting the umbilical cord saying police were waiting to take him to safety.
She added: “The day I found out about the bigamy was the day my world fell apart and the violent betrayal unfolded.”
Michelle later saw the Facebook post and then found his second wedding photos on the social media and reported it to the police before he was arrested in August 2014.
Patrick Duffy, defending, said: “It’s hard to answer. He has abandonment issues. When he was 15 his mother and father broke up. There isn’t a day that goes by when he doesn’t regret the stupidity of his actions.”
However, he said that Philippa wished to continue her relationship with the bigamist.
O’Clee admitted one count of polygamy and is expected to serve half his sentence in jail.
O’Clee got exposed after he took part in the in the ice bucket challenge after being nominated by his toddler nephew.
In the online video, after the nominations were read out the baby gets a splash of warm bath water.
The video posted on the Facebook page of the boy’s father, John O’Clee, read the caption as “Auntie Philippa O’Clee and Uncle Andrew” are nominated to take part in the challenge in August 2014.
O’Clee accepted the challenge and filmed it days later before posting it to Facebook where Michelle found it and informed the police.
The video meant to raise awareness for disease lateral sclerosis eventually led to him being jailed for eight months on Tuesday.
John and Linda Whiteside, who are O’Clee’s brother and mother respectively were made to believe that the polygamist had divorced his first wife.
Mrs Whiteside, of Rusting, West Sussex, refused to comment on her son’s deceit.
O’Clee has since deleted his Facebook page and removed the damaging video from the Internet.
Philippa, now 30, illegal wedding to O’Clee took place in St. John’s Baptist church in Kirdford, which is set in the idyllic West Sussex countryside, before they celebrated at Russets Country House, in August 2013, near their Surrey home.
Before the wedding commenced, it was a sunny morning; however, the rain started immediately afte O’Clee put the ring on Philippa’s finger.
A guest at the wedding said: “The weather as we left the church had taken a turn for the worst, but nothing was going to stop this couple having an amazing day and we were not scared off by a little rain.
“The speeches were fantastic and we thought Andy was very brave to stitch up his best man during his speech giving his best man free reign to then get him back straight after – which of course he did.”
Michelle, 39, is believed to be living with her parents in New Malden, Surrey.
On the other hand, Philippa, 30, has decided to stand by her lying “husband”, when visited at their Surrey home; however, she refused to make any further statements.