Bigamist Stephen Kershaw avoids jail after divorce blunder
Bigamist Stephen Kershaw narrowly escaped jail when he remarried under the foolish illusion his previous wife had divorced him.
The grandfather, 61, formerly of Dover, admitted bigamy when he appeared before Canterbury Crown Court.
Prosecutor Iestyn Morgan said he had married Amanda Volpi in 1992 and had separated 18 months later.
Kershaw remarried even though he hadn't divorced a previous wife. Stock picture
He had then had no further contact with his spouse but there had never been a formal divorce, said the barrister.
The lorry driver, who now lives in Battersea, London, had met Tracy De Gietelink in 2005 and had begun a relationship with her in 2009.
They had married that year on August 6 at a register office, where he had handed over a document relating to an earlier divorce to first wife Karen Green.
Later, Kershaw had become aware his name was still being used and had handed himself in at Wandsworth police station.
He had told officers he thought Ms Volpi had filed for divorce. He had had no document, it had just been his assumption.
Mr Morgan said his bigamy had had a great emotional impact on Ms De Gietelink “as one would expect”.
Andrew Craske, defending, said Kershaw had gone to live in South Africa, then Argentina for six years, after his separation from Ms Volpi in 1994.
He had returned to live in the Dover area to be near his children and grandchildren from his first marriage.
“He thought Amanda Volpi had done divorce proceedings and remarried,” said Mr Craske.
“He didn’t give it any more thought.”
“This matter clearly caused Tracy De Gietelink considerable distress when she discovered that special day for her was not so special for you, as you were already married" - Recorder Paul Cook
“When he relocated to London following his separation from Tracy De Gietelink, he learnt Amanda Volpi was still using his surname.”
He had checked records and realised he was still married to Amanda Volpi, prompting him to go to the police for advice.
Kershaw had been told to start divorce proceedings and that the police would take no further action. A decree absolute had come through on April 21 this year.
The judge, recorder Paul Cook, said: “This matter clearly caused Tracy De Gietelink considerable distress when she discovered that special day for her was not so special for you, as you were already married.”
Kershaw’s early guilty plea and surrender to police had saved him from imprisonment.
He was handed a three-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay £200 towards costs.
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