It was March 2016 and Helen Gundry and her then 15-year-old daughter Daisy thought Daniel – Helen’s husband, Daisy’s father – was away for work in Dubai.
They were excited to move from their home in Surry in the UK to join him in Dubai and start a new life together as soon as Daisy finished her final-year exams.
Then, sitting on the couch one night, Helen saw Daniel on an episode of Saturday Night Takeaway.
He was there, where he should never have been, in footage of a surprise wedding shown live on SNT. He was with another woman, Susan Brooker, and he was meant to be in Dubai.
“Things were great. We had our plans, Daisy was enrolled in college out there and we had an apartment out there,” Helen told This Morning. “Or so I thought.”
Although Helen and Daniel, 39, had separated for a time – and she knew of his relationship with Susan in the years they were apart – their marriage, she thought, had rekindled and his affair with Susan was over.
He had told Helen he “wanted to be a family again”.
She posted to the SNT Facebook page at the time: “I loved the wedding and the surprise guests. I didn’t love the sight of my husband who’s supposed to be working in Dubai arriving on the arm of another woman. A woman he’s supposed to have split from last year. We have a 15-year-old daughter and she’s in absolute bits.”
But watching her husband with another woman during prime-time television was only the beginning.
Only a week ago, the three women had to watch a man they once loved – who they thought loved them – be sentenced in a criminal court for bigamy.
Daisy, now 18, said she “collapsed there and then” when her father was handed down a six-month prison term.
“He’s given me a lot of issues in my own life that I need to focus on getting over as well,” she told This Morning. Indeed.
Helen thought she had found her happy ever after, until she caught her husband Daniel on live TV with his ‘other wife’ Sue. She shares her story… pic.twitter.com/KtnxfJzrRM
— This Morning (@thismorning) January 16, 2018
The ‘other woman’ Susan was also a victim of Daniel’s deception.
She and he were married in a ceremony on Seychelles – a “white sandy beach in the middle of the Indian ocean”, according to a tourist website. And the court heard how Daniel forged paperwork in order to go ahead with the wedding.
Susan had no idea he was married to Helen and both women teamed up to report him to police.
This is why happy people cheat… Post continues below.
The court heard victim statements from both Daniel’s ‘wives’, the BBC reports, with Helen saying she is suffering with depression and Susan saying her life “is going in slow motion”.
“He has been lying for a long time so I’m just glad that finally he’s been found out,” Helen said after the sentencing.
The judge said Daniel had caused the women “embarrassment, shame and humiliation” before handing down the six-month sentence. The maximum penalty for bigamy in England is seven years.
In Australia, the laws are similar. Bigamy is illegal in all states and territories and, according to the 1899 Criminal Code, a person commits bigamy if they:
- Are married, but goes through the form of marriage with another person during the life of his or her wife or husband;
- Or if they go through the form of marriage with any person whom he or she knows to be married.
Obviously, there are divorce courts for a reason. And the only circumstances in which a marriage can go ahead while one party is still legally married, is if there’s been an absence or separation of more than seven years.
In 2004, the Howard Government defined marriage as: “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
Obviously, thankfully, after the 2017 survey on the issue, marriage no longer needs to be between a man and a woman. Marriage equality is here!
The “exclusion of all others” part, however, might need to stay.