'My husband was married to a woman in Oman': Hackney woman's book reveals ordeal
- Credit: Yve Gibney
A woman who grew up in Hackney has written a book about the lengths it took to expose her bigamist husband after 18 years of marriage.
Yve Gibney, 60, lived in the borough for about 30 years before leaving to work as a diplomat. It was while working in Nigeria as a nursing officer with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that she met her oil dealer ex-husband Maurice James Gibney.
In her book, Face of a Bigamist, Yve tells her story of getting married, travelling abroad and eventually starting a family and settling just outside Liverpool.
Years later in 2013, she would learn of her husband’s illegal marriage to another woman in Oman on Facebook.
Yve told the Gazette about the moment she learnt of Maurice’s “duplicitous lifestyle” after having already started proceedings to divorce him: “I found evidence on Facebook. I found a picture of him with this other woman.
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“Well actually I pressed on a link and it took me to her Facebook page and her profile picture with my husband. Her looking up adoringly into the eyes of her groom.
“She’s in a brides dress and it was my husband that she has married.”
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By 2018, a divorce settlement, which Yve says will be covered in her second book, Maurice admitted to lying about his earnings. Yvonne was awarded all the proceeds from the sale of a house they owned in Wirral and her husband was ordered to pay her legal fees.
Maurice had originally claimed he was earning £90,000 a year instead of £140,0000.
Yve also said her husband spent £50,000 on his illegal wedding in Oman at the Middle Eastern country’s “most expensive hotel”, where Prince Charles and Camilla stay on visits.
“Meanwhile I am a nurse in the NHS struggling on an overdraft just to get by and my husband is living this double life spending all this money that he has concealed from me,” she said.
Yve says her life abroad was not typical of a working-class Hackney resident from a first-generation Jewish immigrant family.
She also delves into how difficult it was to prove her husband’s guilt, adding: “The divorce courts would not acknowledge the bigamy because he denied it.
“So, because he denied it, I couldn’t do anything about it.
“I had to report him to the police.
“Then with the help of all these women that I knew around the world, who I had met on my travels when I lived in different places, they all came together and we sort of opened this ladies detective agency, as we joked."
The self-published author continued: “They all started trying to find things out and we discovered all about the relationship and the bigamy which helped to assist the police basically, who were struggling to find the evidence of the bigamy.
“After 10 months [Maurice] went to trial and he basically got a six months suspended sentence for two years which I never felt was adequate.”
Yve's husband was convicted of bigamy in 2014 with a suspended sentence of six months. A bigamy sentence can be up to seven years or a fine or both.
She added: “There were three court cases for the bigamy and during that time it felt very much like I was the perpetrator and he was the victim because he was looked after. It was just an awful, awful situation.”
The legal cost of the court proceedings left Yvonne with a bill of £40,000 at the time, however, she says the impact of the bigamy on her and her children’s health was also costly.
Yvonne called the experience “traumatic” and said: “We all had mental health issues from this.
"A divorce is difficult enough, as a lot of women will be able to relate to.
"But when you have got this absolute betrayal, that someone has married somebody else while married to you, and while still keeping up the pretence of a happy family life.
"There was also a sense of abandonment I think for my youngest son.”
Yve and Maurice's son, now 22, asked his mother to mention the mental health issues he still experiences from his father’s second marriage to help normalise mental health issues in young men.
Yvonne Gibney's book Face of a Bigamist is available to buy on Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XY6CZP5?geniuslink=true