Scots pensioner ‘illegally married three women’

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court. Picture: Neil Hanna
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A PENSIONER is to stand trial accused of bigamously marrying three different women in seven years.

Alexander Paton is said to have wed the women at a registry office in Glenrothes and at a church in Greenock between 2006 and 2012.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court yesterday heard that Paton, 68, denies all three charges against him.

It is alleged he first married Filipino mortgage funder Perla Montilla, 65, at a registry office in Glenrothes in October 2006.

However, prosecutors say he was already married to another woman, Dorothy Campbell, at the time.

The second charge alleges that while married to Ms Montilla, he married Romanian engineer Judit Gherghiteanu, 67, in June 2007 at the same registry office.

A third charge alleges he illegally married Margaret Nicol, 66, from Fife, at a church in Greenock in 2012.

Retired engineering inspector Paton, of Kirkcaldy, denied all three charges against him during a brief pre-trial hearing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court yesterday

His lawyer, Bill Clark, told the court the pensioner was maintaining his not guilty plea to the charges.

He said: “We have been sent a list of witnesses but we do not yet have disclosure of statements from the Crown.

“I am asking the Crown for statements to be made available.

“I am suggesting a further intermediate hearing in this case.”

Fiscal depute Katrine Craig said: “We haven’t yet received the statements ourselves but as soon as they are available, they will be disclosed to the defence.”

Sheriff Kevin Veal set a further pre-trial hearing later this month ahead of a trial in December.

He said: “I’d like to think that a lot of evidence can be agreed here.

“The accused will be excused attendance on the next date unless there is a plea to be arranged.”

Mr Paton left court by a side entrance with his solicitor after the hearing.

Bigamy is defined as the crime of marrying a person while already legally married and, in Scotland, penalties range from fines to substantial prison sentences.

A bigamist is seen as perpetrating fraud against the state, causing a disruption in record keeping and, in some cases, upsetting the practice of inheritance and estate laws.

If the second spouse is unaware of a still-valid prior marriage, the bigamist may also be seen as causing him or her to enter into a legal agreement under false pretences, which may be another form of fraud.

In 2010, bigamist businessman Alexander Roy – who juggled two wives, two fiancées and had a string of previous lovers – escaped a jail term.

The father-of-two married charity worker Morven Wylie in a civil ceremony while still legally wed to another woman.

It was concluded Mr Roy, who was still the lawful wedded husband of Denise Roy at the time of the ceremony in 2007, was suffering from an “adjustment disorder”.