My husband: the bigamist with 11 kids

A phone call from another woman shattered Mary Turner Thomson's life. But that was only the beginning.

MARY Turner Thomson didn't want to invite the other woman into her home. Not just then, anyway. It was only a few hours after, that unforgettable damp Wednesday morning in April 2006, the mother of three from Newington had got the call to say her devoted husband had been unfaithful. And that he had another wife.

"I began to shake," recalls the 42-year-old former marketing consultant (pictured above), "when Michelle* called and asked 'are you the other Mrs Jordan?' I have never experienced a reaction like it. It was physical, not emotional. Nothing I had ever felt was real, nothing I knew was real; everything was gone. I knew she was telling the truth."

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A meeting in a nearby cafe was arranged. When the waiter asked if the women needed any help, Mary replied: "I don't know – we've just found out we're married to the same man" and the ice was broken.

In the months after the women met, they built an enduring friendship which was to help them convict their husband, Will Jordan, of bigamy, a crime for which he began a five-year sentence in 2006.

It was also the impetus for Mary to write an updated version of her first book, The Other Mrs Jordan, which told the story of her six-year relationship with the 42-year-old American IT consultant who claimed to be a CIA intelligence officer seconded to the Ministry of Defence. The second instalment of the tale, entitled The Bigamist and available in shops from Thursday, takes into account the new information that Mary has discovered about her husband in the years since she became aware of his betrayal.

"A lot of things have happened since the original book, so I felt I needed to write a new one," explains Mary. "I have discovered two more women who have come forward. Two women were engaged to him in 2005, and he seriously disrupted their lives. Both were single mothers – in fact, all of the women have been single mothers.

"I also got the laptop I bought him back from the police and I'm handing it over to the Scottish police because the stuff that's on it is criminal. Hard core porn, an extremely dodgy picture of a naked child, and a lot of very violent executions from Iraq."

Mary met Will, a programming consultant who'd worked with Microsoft and the BBC, on an online dating site in 2000.

"It was so natural and easygoing, and he was extremely eloquent. I thought I was being safe, chatting to him online for two weeks, to find out all about him. But he was finding out all about me. He was researching me, researching things I said to become the perfect man for me."

He claimed to be infertile. And a secret agent. In fact, he did at one point work in the office of John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, but as an IT consultant. Futhermore, Michelle and Mary weren't the only ones who fell for his lies. At least seven other women were manipulated, cheated and duped before the law finally caught up with him. The most devastating thing for Mary though was the discovery that, as well as being a bigamist, her husband was a convicted paedophile and had served a four-year prison sentence for having sex with a girl who was under 13.

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"I felt very guilty that I put my children in that position," says Mary. "But luckily he didn't touch them. I don't know if he was just biding his time though."

You can't help but ask the question: how could such an intelligent and independent woman be duped in such a monumental way?

The former George Watson's College pupil had her own business advisory company and was earning 30,000 a year, yet Jordan managed to con her out of 200,000 in six years.

"They knock you down and quickly bring you back up again – but not as far back up as before," explains Mary. "It gets to the point that you think they're constantly boosting you and being supportive, but in reality they're undermining you. Over time, your confidence and self-esteem go.

"My family were duped too. My mother passed away in 2006 and she told me to tell the story, to write the book. When it all came out, she was glad. She was glad I was free. I'd made a commitment to this man, and I believed in marriage – you stayed through thick and thin.

"I even spoke to his parents and they told me they were so glad he'd found someone to settle down with. They knew everything apparently. I've found out things since which I can't go into, but the whole family are fruitcakes. If Michelle ever writes her book then it will make mine look like a walk in the park."

Mary has discovered that Will got women pregnant on purpose to leave them stressed, sleep-deprived, vulnerable and malleable – unable to work out what was happening. Vitally, he kept them all silent. He is the father of no fewer than 11 children – five by Michelle, two with her nanny, two with Mary, one in the south of England and a grown-up son in America.

Despite being manipulated, humiliated and, worst of all, betrayed by the man she loved, Mary sought therapy in her writings.

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"It got everything out in the open. It is not my fault, I did not ask for this to happen. I found out so much that made my jaw hit the floor and the only way I could deal with it was to write it down. It helped me get things clear in my head. A lot of what he did was brainwashing and putting it down on paper helped me work out what was brain washing and what was reality.

"He's the predator, we're the prey. He's a sociopath, and he's been doing this for 26 years. It's not so much he picked me – I just responded (to his e-mail]. I found out he averaged about four or five women at one time and he has many children by the five women I know of – so far."

Mary continues: "And he's not charming – he's very calm and confident. It was a calm magnetism, and people just believed him. He became exactly what I was looking for – even though I wasn't even looking. He fitted into my life . . . which was his plan."

In the two years since her world collapsed, Mary has done some impressive detective work, tracking down women fooled by her husband. There are Alexis* and Devi* in America, Helen* and Alice* in England, as well as Michelle. And she's convinced there are others who are too ashamed to admit being duped.

"The one thing we had in common was that we were all single mothers who cared. We all have very big hearts and are self sacrificing. He chose us for a very good reason – we can't up sticks and follow him."

After a bumpy start, Michelle and Mary are still friends.

"She and I talk quite a lot, and she is much more calm and rational now. You have to remember that I was brainwashed for six years – she was for 15. We do socialise and see them, and my children know they have brothers and sisters. I don't want to talk about it too much because I don't want Will to know too much about our lives."

Even the girl he was convicted of molesting – Anna* – is now coming to terms with her own ordeal, and Mary has been in contact with her.

She recalls: "At the time, the girl he molested sent me a statement telling me what had happened didn't actually happen. She said that he had gone into prison to get information out of a sex offender, so that's why the charge was made up. Of course, back then, she was still being manipulated by him.

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"This man isn't just a little bit of a bastard. He brainwashes people. If anyone is going to end up being a serial killer, it's him."

While Mary hopes no judge will allow him to stay in the UK, she does worry that one day he'll be able to roam free. And so she's taking no chances. "The girls and I do taekwondo and I'm going for my blue stripe. And I've got a dog now."

And what about the future? Is she open to finding new love?

"It's extremely unlikely I will ever do that. I am happy, for a start. I have my children, and I'm never going to be dependent upon anyone else again financially. It's not that I'm bitter and twisted but having found out that the man I loved, was living with and trusted was all of that – how can I? I would never say never. But until the children are older, I couldn't do it.

"I think I'm healed. And it's not necessary to have a relationship to be happy."

And the children?

"Moran, who's nine, Louise, who's six, and Alexander, who's three, are all OK. I never kept it from them, and they know what's happened. It has shown my children that you can survive anything."

• The Bigamist: The True Story of a Husband's Ultimate Betrayal, by Mary Turner Thomson, is out on April 3 (Mainstream, 7.99). *Except for Mary Turner Thomson and Will Jordan, all other names have been changed.