Gosport bigamist is jailed after his first wife discovers his lies on Facebook

A BIGAMIST who abandoned his wife to start a new life with another family was thrown behind bars for six months after he was caught out on Facebook.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 2:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 2:34 pm
Peter Rigden
Peter Rigden

Gosport man Peter Rigden, 48, admitted a charge of bigamy after he illegally tied the knot with another woman while still being married. The 48-year-old's double life was only discovered after his ex-wife '“ seeking to divorce him '“ looked him up on Facebook and stumbled on his new life.

Portsmouth Magistrates' Court heard Rigden met Mahala Rigden while they were working together in Bolton in 1999. Within months of starting the relationship, a loved-up Rigden proposed, with the couple getting married in January 2000 before the relationship fell apart, prosecutor Giles Fletcher told the court. '˜He went to work in London and that's when the relationship effectively ended,' he said.

Then, 14 years after the relationship broke down, Mrs Rigden started to search for her ex-husband in an effort to finally divorce him. It was while she was searching for him that she stumbled on his new wife '“ and their child '“ and reported this to police.

Rigden had in fact married his next wife Kerry Higgins in December 22, 2007 in Ramsgate, after meeting her in Gillingham, Kent, in 2006. '˜He confirmed in church he had not been married before and also told lies about having a job, having a property and ran up debt,' Mr Fletcher said.

The relationship was blighted by problems and the couple split, with Mrs Higgins eventually filing for divorce in April 2013.

It was only when police knocked on her door, on January 27 of this year, that she found out the truth.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Higgins said she was '˜shocked and upset' after finding out especially after shelling out £12,000 for a marriage that was '˜null and void'.

To add to her pain divorce proceedings cost £4,000 with insult added to injury as Rigden demanded £1,000 to comply and walk away from his young child.

'˜I feel humiliated and shame. It has had a dreadful impact on us with it all dragged up,' Mrs Higgins statement read.

In defence, John Naylor, said Rigden would '˜bury his head in the sand' but accepts his behaviour was '˜appalling'.

Sentencing Rigden, of Anns Hill Road, district judge Anne Arnold said the defendant's behaviour was '˜disgraceful' before sending him to prison.

Rigden was also given a 12-month post sentence supervision order and told to pay a surcharge of £115.