17/04/2015 11:38 BST | Updated 17/06/2015 06:12 BST

Bigamist Dad Jailed After First Wife Discovered His Secret Family On Facebook Ice Bucket Challenge


A bigamist dad has been jailed after his first wife spotted him on Facebook doing an ice bucket challenge with his other family.

A court heard that Andrew O'Clee, 36, was married to Michelle - but also tied the knot with second wife, Philippa.

He forged a decree absolute to show his family so his mother and brother believed he'd divorced Michelle and they happily attended his second wedding.

He then told his first wife he was involved in a fraud case and had to enter the Witness Protection Programme, which would keep him away from home for long periods.

He even showed up briefly five hours late at the birth of their child before cutting the umbilical cord and then said he had to leave with police.

However, O'Clee's web of 'lies and forgery' caught up with him after four years when he was tagged in a Facebook post.

A video of his ice bucket challenge appeared on the social network, captioned 'uncle Andrew and auntie Philippa', which was seen by Michelle.

She then found photos of his second wedding on Facebook and reported it to police.

O'Clee, from Chiddingfold, Surrey, was jailed for eight months at Chichester Crown Court for bigamy.

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."

O'Clee met Michelle in 2000 and they married in 2008 before he began his affair with second wife in 2011 - while he and Michelle were still trying for a baby.

He then told her he had seen a fraud and was in witness protection as his life was in danger - and he had to spend long periods in a safe house.

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."

Michelle went into labour 18 months after he began his safe-house lie and he turned up to the birth five hours late.

He cut the umbilical cord and left, saying police were waiting to take him to safety.

She later saw the Facebook post and then unearthed photos of his second wedding on social media and reported it to 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."

He added that Philippa wished to carry on her relationship with O'Clee.

O'Clee admitted one count of bigamy and is expected to serve half his sentence in custody.