DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 1999-10 > 0941388455
From: khs <>
Subject: being married without one's knowledge
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 08:47:35 -0800
I was recently sent the following after it appeared on Yorksgen, and
thought that you would find it just as interesting.
Karen in Abbotsford BC
Subject: Being Married without one?s Knowledge
I hope you find the following interesting.
?Married or Not Married? in The Guardian, Monday 1 September 1986
A woman called Gloria was born in Colombia, married a man called Dai
and bore his child. Throughout their time together, he beat her up. The
Office demanded evidence of her marriage and her husband?s birth
proof of her right to British nationality. Her husband refused to hand
birth certificate and she was faced with deportation. She tried to
birth certificate but at St Catherine?s House she discovered that there
such person as Dai Llewelyn and that he had given a false name at the
She could not prove that she was married to a British citizen unless she
discover his true identity. The day she came home from the PRO and
him about his real identity he beat her up again and refused to tell her
was. She escaped with her child to a woman?s refuge and he then
Her deportation was threatened for late August unless she could find out
His photograph was published in the paper and he telephoned, but refused to
his name or whereabouts. However, he did go to the police and the Home
is now satisfied that Gloria is legally married to a British subject.
He had done nothing illegal. You do not have to produce a birth
obtain a marriage licence, and you can marry under any name you choose
there is no fraudulent intent. The marriage between the two people who
the ceremony remains valid whatever they call themselves so long as
partner is married already. This oddity in the law can lead to serious abuse.
Helen Ventress, a pottery teacher, was served with divorce papers by a
solicitors acting for a Chinese waiter called Robert Cheung. As far
knew, she had never been married, but his solicitors refused to believe
They said ?we know you married Mr Cheung in 1975 and you were paid £250.
a marriage of convenience so just sign the divorce papers.? Her parents
believe her either when she said she had not been married. They thought
she had done this for the money when she was a hard-up first-year student.
Eventually they did believe her and then she was sent a copy of the
certificate between herself, Helen Rebecca Ventress, and Robert
solemnised at Paddington Register Office on 3 November 1975. It
parents? names and address and her date of birth. She is the only
Ventress registered within 20 years either side of the her date. The
against her seemed pretty conclusive.
Finally, Mr Cheung?s solicitors sent a private detective to see her to
get her to sign the divorce papers and admit she had indeed been married.
luckily, Mr Cheung had taken photographs after the wedding. The
detective saw her he realised that she was not the woman in the
photographs. Someone else had stolen her identity and married using her
address and details. She did not recognise the girl in the photographs
completely mystified. Then, studying one of the photographs
recognised a young man in the background. His name was Glen Dixon and
been at Ripon Grammar School with him, although he had been in a class
She had no idea why he had chosen her identity but he knew her parents?
as both their fathers had been publicans in Ripon when they were both at
Glen Dixon was found and the woman who married Mr Cheung in Helen?s
identified as Susan Begbie, Glen Dixon?s girlfriend at the time. They
Mr Cheung in a London pub when he was looking for a British woman to
gain British citizenry. They wanted the money, they said, to go on
Helen?s case was taken up by her MP. She hoped to get the marriage
and her name removed from the register. However, there is no legal
remove a marriage certificate from the books ? even when the marriage is
(bigamous for instance). This marriage is voidable but one of the
Susan Begbie or Robert Cheung, has to go to court to void it. Even
marriage would remain on the register.
Helen?s MP wrote to the Registrar General. He replied that in law Helen
married and there is nothing to stop her marrying in the future if
wishes. He went on to say that he would be instructing the
Registrar at Westminster who now has custody of the register to report the
to the police for such action as it saw fit to take. Helen never heard any
but she assumed prosecutions would follow. However, the Director of
Prosecutions says the police did investigate but decided to take no
action. The DPP never gives any reason but it does not mean that no
fraud or perjury) was committed ? just that for some reason the police
follow this case up.
Helen now wants to marry her boyfriend, Brian. There is nothing to
?but I would like a declaration in court establishing in law that the
to Mr Cheung never took place?. She has no money and is applying for legal
However, even when she has the court?s public acknowledge-ment that she
married, she bitterly resents that fact that there is nothing whatever
do to get the record of the marriage removed or altered, nor can she get a
attached to the record to explain that the person married is Susan
know it?s only a remote possibility, but supposing in the future when we
dead and gone that my grandchildren are due to inherit. It could be
the book that I was never legally married to Brian, as I had previously
Divorce decree records are public documents available in the Principal
of the Family Division Court. Checking there, officials report that
been no divorce, or declaration that the marriage is void, between Robert
and Susan Begbie, either in her own name or in Helen Ventress?s name.
marriage remains valid. Wherever Susan Begbie may be now, she may not
that her marriage to Robert Cheung is still valid, whatever name she used
time. If she has married again, or if she married again in the future
first obtaining a divorce, her marriage would be bigamous. As yet
received no word or apology or explanation from her.
The Lord Chancellor?s department says there has been an increasing
marriages of this kind. A short time ago, one woman was caught clocking
12th marr-iage of convenience in a month, using false names at
register offices. It is all too easily done, without having to
birth certificates or any proof of marital status. Until there is a
the law, it is well nigh impossible for an ordinary person to discover
person they are about to marry has been married before; it is possible to
proof of marriage, but not of non-marriage. There is no note attached
birth certifi-cate entry that would lead to a subsequent marriage or
cer-tificate. It is difficult to look up information unless you already
most of the information you are looking for.
Helen Ventress was alarmed to hear in her home town, Ripon, that Glen
supplied Susan Begbie with her identity had been boasting that there were
more girls who attended the Grammar School at that time whose identity
used in marriages. Helen says ?of course they would never know, and there
way they could look it up or find out until the day they are served with