When Cheryl Anderson, 27, threw husband Tam Anderson, 29, out after an internet affair he secretly went to Mexico to meet his chatroom lover, Carla Santos, a 29-year-old American. however on his flight home he was arrested at the airport for an alleged sexual assault on a shop-worker and now five-months-pregnant Cheryl is having to work with Carla to do all she can to get him out of jail…
Sitting in the hospital bed for my 12 week scan I was so excited to see the first picture of my new baby. I was also incredibly nervous.
I thought back to the scans I’d had of my three children with my husband Tam: son Morgan, eight, and daughters Mackenzie, four and Francesca, 20 months. Tam had always been with me.
We’d been married eight years and had three wonderful children. I became friends with his family when I met them in Ibiza in September 1999.
He’d picked up the phone when I called them after we got back to Britain and we continued to speak every night. He came down from Scotland to meet me for the first time on my 18th birthday in March 2000.
He moved down for good in May and we married in January 2001 in Rugby.
He had attended all of our childrens’ scans. He would hold my hand tightly in his. He knew I was scared. I’d had a stillborn baby during my first pregnancy in 1998 and despite having three healthy babies since I could never shake that feeling of fear.
He’d squeezed my hand, his smiling eyes telling me all I needed to know that my baby had a heartbeat and I would then look at the screen in joy. This was how it had been with every scan.
But Tam wasn’t with me this time. I had my friend Gail with me instead.
Tam was back home in Scotland after I’d asked him to leave after all the stress he’s caused me.
We had planned to have a child and had been trying since September 2008. We’d had a bit of a rough year with Tam becoming unemployed from his warehouse operative role and rows over money but 2009 was supposed to be a fresh start for us.
However, my world shattered just days after celebrating my pregnancy.
I’d picked up his mobile phone to use the calculator tool and saw a text from him to a foreign number.
“I love you and I miss you.” There were lots of others like it.
I felt sick to the stomach.
When I confronted him about the texts he said he wasn’t having an affair, it was just a friend he had made on the internet. He said her name was Carla and she was an American with two children and a partner.
For a while I’d been having doubts. He’d been spending lots of time on the internet and I knew he’d been on chat-rooms – something he had always said he had been against. Whenever I asked him about it he always told me I had nothing to worry about and to stop nagging him.
“How would you feel if I was emailing and exchanging numbers with men in chat-rooms?” I asked him.
“I’ll set you up on one if you like,” he replied.
I couldn’t think of anything worse and I hated my own husband was suggesting such a thing.
He promised not to contact this woman again but he did. I would come into the room and I would see him quickly minimise or delete messages that he was composing.
I would think to myself that if it was just a friend he was emailing then why could he not send it in front of his own wife?
When a phone bill came through with hundreds of pounds racked up to the same international number I couldn’t take it anymore and on March 18th I gave him an ultimatum:
“You either say goodbye to her or you say goodbye to us.”
He was still denying an affair saying they were just friends. He got pretty angry and started to cling on to the children, so I grabbed Francesca and I actually drove to the police station.
As I waited to speak to an officer I received a call from Tam saying come home, he had packed his bags and wanted to say goodbye to Francesca.
My eyes stung as I drove back and I wiped away the tears as I got out and saw him standing with his bags packed. He hugged and kissed Francesca goodbye but said nothing to me.
He stayed in a hotel that night and after coming back to the house just to take the dog and a few more things he left for his home town, Lanarkshire.
I think he expected me to take him back after the weekend but I encouraged myself to stay strong and not give in. The stress was not good for me and I couldn’t trust him.
I even paid to have my mobile number changed so there would be more distance with him but I kept my house phone so he could contact the children. He didn’t call them every day and he even missed Mackenzie’s birthday.
After a while his brother called to let me know Tam had gone to Mexico. I was so confused.
“How did he pay for his flights?” I asked. I had access to his accounts still and I saw he had absolutely no money.
A few days later I got a call at 11.30pm from Tam. He’d been drinking and said to me he was in Spain.
I didn’t hear anything from him again until he called me from a Mexican police station saying he’d been stitched up for groping a woman’s breast and bottom. I knew straight away there was no way he could have done that. He was a flirt but he would never force himself on anybody. But he was facing a jail sentence!
He asked me to contact the Home Office. I had to dial 118 118 for the number! I have been speaking to them every day for updates and have heard nothing from Tam since.
However, I have been in contact with Carla, the woman behind my family break up.
Part of me just wants to scream at her but for now I have to rely on her for information, as she is out there dealing with lawyers and police. It’s so hard for me – I don’t like how she holds the key to everything.
She’s from New Mexico and had driven a four-hour drive to meet him Tam in Mexico City. I discovered through her that she had paid for his tickets. She said she has since split with her partner over it.
He missed his original flight back to Scotland and Carla had to pay for another one.
It was while waiting for this flight that he went into a shop and the alleged assault took place.
But he is saying he was targeted and beaten up for money. I’m just waiting to hear what sentence he will get.
Carla has said he has received no medical attention for his injuries and in the first two days was given no food or drink. He’s in the same clothes and cannot shower. He is facing up to three years in a third world jail and I’m not sure he will be able to cope.
Despite all he has done to me my heart goes out to him. I know my marriage is over but he is the father of my children and I am going to continue to fight to get him out of there so he doesn’t come out in a box.
He’s a strong man but I don’t think anyone can be prepared for what he must be going through right now.
I’m so scared to have a failed marriage behind me and I think part of me hopes he will have time in jail to reflect on the importance of our family and maybe it will change him for the good.
But I also know I deserve someone who treats me with respect and love.
I have told my eldest son Morgan that he was arrested for being a good man. I don’t want them to think badly of their dad and I’m leaving it open for him to come back and have a relationship with them when he comes out.
For now I will continue to fight. I have sent a postal order to him through the Home Office which hopefully he will be able to use in jail for food and phone cards and a letter telling him we are having a baby boy.
I hope that gives him the strength to keep strong and in the meantime I am relying on my friends and family to keep me strong.
My family is so important to me and I wish with all my heart that he had never started using the internet but you can’t dwell on the past. Carla has said she doesn’t like drama and wants a simple life and I said good luck to her with Tam! Nothing is ever simple with him.
There was a time when I wanted him home with me but now I just want him out safe so he can be a father to my children. I owe it to my unborn baby and to myself to strive for my own happiness and I will do all I can to achieve that.
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