Bigamist conman jailed for 15 months


A bigamist who wooed his fifth wife by claiming to be a decorated Falklands hero and then fleeced her for more than £50,000 has been jailed for 15 months.

Lying John Lewis, 48, married Maureen Walder in a lavish Sri Lankan ceremony just months after meeting her in 2006.

He told her he had been gunned down in the Falklands – where he was decorated for gallantry – and took her on lavish trips to Tuscany and Paris.

But he was actually still legally married to a previous wife and was racking up huge debts by applying for loans in her name.

He even got the couple a job house sitting in a mansion in Tuscany for a wealthy Italian family by fabricating his CV.

But his scam came tumbling down when Maureen returned to her home in Minehead, Somerset, in 2008 to find a pile of letters from debt collection agencies.

A subsequent investigation found he had defrauded over £50,000 in loans and mortgages in her name.

The court heard Lewis was suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome – a psychological condition that can lead to compulsive lying.

Lewis pleaded guilty to bigamy and three charges of fraud and was jailed for 15 months at Taunton Crown Court on Friday (03/09).

Detective Constable Darren Lipscombe, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: ”The sentenced passed today on John Lewis is a reflection of the seriousness of the crimes committed.

”John Lewis targeted vulnerable women, gained their trust in a bid to control their lives and then fraudulently obtained money for his own needs. In the process he committed bigamy.

”I hope the sentence handed to Lewis by the court will bring some comfort and closure to the victims affected.

Lewis met Maureen, 54, in April 2006 in a night club and instantly swept her off her feet by claiming he was a war hero who survived being shot in the Falklands.

He whisked her away to Paris that Christmas and proposed the following year, with the couple getting married at a lavish ceremony in Sri Lanka that year.


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