A Lincolnshire woman who married without getting divorced from a previous husband has been spared jail after a judge accepted she might have been confused.
Faith Jenkinson, 43, tied the knot at Branston Hall Hotel, near Lincoln, during 2010 after failing to complete divorce proceedings from her first marriage 16 years earlier.
Lincoln Crown Court heard the error was only unearthed several years later by Jenkinson’s intended husband, who lives near Grantham. He was unaware of Jenkinson’s previous marriage and reported her bigamy to the authorities.
Jenkinson’s first marriage was held in Surrey during 1994 but the relationship soon ended after the death of the couple’s young daughter, the court was told.
A divorce petition was issued by Jenkinson on her first husband at Slough County Court in the year 2000 but it was returned as unserved and a decree absolute was never completed.
When interviewed by police Jenkinson said she thought she was free to marry again after issuing the divorce petition in 2000.
David Eager, mitigating, said: “She assumed having instructed a solicitor in 2000 and having issued a petition it would have gone through.”
Jenkinson, who now lives in a village near Gainsborough, admitted a single charge of bigamy on October 17, 2010.
She was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Passing sentence Judge John Pini QC told Jenkinson he did not think it was in the public interest to send her to jail.
Judge Pini told her: “I am satisfied that during that marriage ceremony you did not fully understand that you were still married. I am just prepared to accept there was some confusion in your mind.”