Darrell Plews appeared at Leeds Crown Courtã€€having pleaded guilty to offences of theft and arson, and received a sentence of 12 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years.ã€€The offences were as a result of Mr Plews having set fire to some ofã€€his wife's possessions, including herã€€collection of designer handbags and shoes, following the news that she had secretly married a Gambian man who she had fallen in love with whilst on a family holiday.ã€€The marriage took place despite the fact that Mrs Plews was still married to her husband, as in Gambia such weddings are legal.ã€€Mr Plews was eventuallyã€€told the news by his mother-in-law.
After the hearing Mr Plews explained that after the holiday late last year his wife wanted to return to Gambia only a matter of 2 weeks later, so he agreed to her going back again with the children.ã€€ The couple had separated in any event, and when Mr Plews found out that she had returned once again in March this year, he went to their former matrimonialã€€house, found and burned the dress his wife had worn for the Gambian wedding, and then collected together other possessions belonging to her.ã€€
He said "I collected up as much of her clothes, bags and shoes as I could find and burnt them. She loved her designer gear, so I knew it would annoy her. I bought most of the stuff anyway. There was stuff by Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Vivienne Westwood, about 50 handbags, 100 pairs of shoes,ã€€anything I could get my hands on. The next thing I knew, the police were knocking on the door."
Mr Plews added "Burning her stuff helped with the anger I felt. Since I've burnt it I haven't thought about her once, I'm over it."
The prosecutor told the court that the couple had been married for 6 years and had 2 children together.ã€€They have since divorced.ã€€
Richard Canning mitigating said "He has done it out of revenge. He claimed Michelle had paid for her reunion with her lover with money from her husband's business.ã€€She then married him while married to the defendant,ã€€apparently that's legal in Gambia. He lost his temper and did something very stupid for which he now has to pay the price. It's difficult for him not to see himself as the victim in this case. He has lost his wife, his house and his children."
Judgeã€€David Bradshaw QC, also orderedã€€that Mr Plews should pay his ex-wife £5,000 compensation andã€€do 200 hours unpaid work in the community. He also banned Mr Plews from contactingã€€his ex-wifeã€€for two years.