Birmingham & Black Country

Erdington bigamist jailed for spending dying wife's money

Anthony Foley Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Anthony Foley spent his wife's money and bigamously married another woman

A bigamist who spent his terminally-ill wife's disability benefits and secretly married a Russian woman has been jailed for 20 months.

Anthony Foley, 58, from the Erdington area of Birmingham, withdrew nearly £30,000 from his wife's Post Office account while she was in a care home.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how he stopped visiting Maxine Foley and for six years used her money for day-to-day living and holidays.

Foley admitted fraud and bigamy.

Mrs Foley, his wife of 24 years, had a rare nervous system disease and by 2006 needed round-the-clock support.

'Erased his wife'

She was admitted into a care home, and without her knowledge Foley made 221 cash withdrawals from her account - none of which was handed to his wife or used to help fund her ongoing care, West Midlands Police said.

Some of the money was spent on a trip to Russia, where Foley met a woman he illegally married in 2008, six years before Mrs Foley died.

He used a legitimate divorce certificate from an earlier marriage to persuade register office staff he was single.

Det Con Chris Aldridge, said: "It's an incredibly sad case and an act of extreme callousness from Foley.

"He claimed to have divorced his wife and destroyed the documentation, but our checks with the divorce courts in London proved that to be a lie.

"He then used the decree absolute from his first marriage in order to wed for a third time… knowing full well he was committing bigamy. He effectively erased his wife from his past."

Foley was caught when the Department for Work and Pensions reviewed the benefits Mrs Foley was receiving, and spotted the unusual activity on her account.

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