A bigamist who set himself up with a new wife and children but continued to call his first wife every day for 17 years was jailed for eight months.

Neil Rattue, 60, was married to his first wife Susan for 15 years, buying a home together which he said they had to sell and move in with her mother because they were in debt.

In an emotional statement, Susan revealed how Rattue robbed her of the chance to remarry and have children, saying: "He has stolen my life from me."

Fifteen years after his first wedding, he forged a divorce certificate so he could marry his second wife Rebecca, with whom he had two children and lived 256 miles away.

Though he stopped seeing his first wife in 2001, he dutifully continued to call her daily for 17 years to ask how she was and discuss their debts, which she was paying off.

A court previously heard Susan had paid off £30,000 of debt, from credit cards and loans taken out with Rattue, but still had a ‘staggering’ £37,500 to be paid.

The court today heard a victim statement from Susan, read out by the prosecutor, who said she felt like her husband had ‘stolen her life’ from her.

She said: "Why did he not ask me years ago for a divorce or when he met his new wife? Instead he was leading a double life.

"I have spent the last 19 years living with my mum as he left me with no other option. I am paying for this both mentally and emotionally.

"He has stolen my life from me.

"I could have remarried and moved on. I could have had children. It hurt me to learn he has gone on to have children of his own.

"We were still married but I did not see my husband.

"I was having to work a lot of overtime in the hospital to pay off my debts. I could not get a mortgage with my debts and would not want to give a partner the baggage.

"Eighteen months ago he would still phone me at work every day where he would ask me how I was. He still made me pay off all the money.

"He said we have got to stay married for the purpose of the loan and I believed him. Little did I know, it was because he had already forged our divorce certificate.

"This has been a prison sentence since 2001 when he left and stole my life from me."

Judge Richard Parkes QC today said Rattue had been ‘cowardly’ and ‘deceitful’ in maintaining his marriage to Susan despite having started a new life without her.

Salisbury Crown Court, Wiltshire, heard how Rattue had met his first wife Susan in Wiltshire in 1980 and they were married three years later.

The bigamist, who often worked away, then met his second wife Rebecca while in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The pair, who married on October 3, 1998, lived together in York, North Yorkshire, having two children together.

Prosecutor Phillip Warren said Rattue had taken a friend’s divorce certificate without him knowing, before using it to forge his own.

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