Monday, April 15, 2013

Florence Langley, Predatory War Bride Scam Artist – England, 1916

FULL TEXT: London, June 16 – A strange story of an alleged bigamous marriage to an Australian soldier led to the appearance in the dock at Westminster yesterday of Florence Langley, 22, and her mother, Florence Sheldon, residing at Acton, the latter being charged with aiding and abetting her daughter in deception.

Mr. Rowe, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said a soldier’s separation allowance was the apparent inducement to the younger prisoner to commit bigamy. The mother was present at her marriage with George Langley, a fruiterer of Richmond, in 1911, and Mrs. Sheldon knew that he was alive when she signed the register as a witness of the second marriage, last December, to Wm. Francis Smith, a private in the Australian Imperial Forces.

Langley gave evidence that the younger prisoner left him a few months after marriage, and the “second husband,” Smith, deposed that he made the girl’s acquaintance last October, she representing herself as Jennie Anderson, and single. He made her an allotment of his pay to the extent of 4 s [shillings] a day, and her mother signed the register at their wedding. After the marriage ceremony “his wife” told him that she had no love for him, and she could not keep true to him. She left him last month, and from what he heard he informed the police.

Detective-sergeant Gooding said the mother on arrest stated that her daughter declared to her that she was “a free woman.” “I thought the pair would go to Australia and make a new start,” was also a statement of the elder defendant.

Mr. Horace Smith committed both prisoners for trial.

[“Singular Bigamy Case.” Feilding Star (New Zealand), Jul, 28, 1916, p. 4]


For more cases of this type see: “War-Marriage Vampires”& “Allotment Annies"


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