A FORMER policeman has been convicted of bigamy after photos of him tying the knot while he was still married were posted on Facebook.
Ex police constable Martin Curran, 52, ignored repeated requests from a reverend for proof of his divorce before marrying Andrea Whiteside last summer.
But his first wife, Lisa Curran, the mother of his two children, then discovered that the two had married after photos of their wedding were posted on the Facebook social networking website.
Mr Curran, who had initially entered a not guilty plea to the charge, changed his plea to guilty at Halton Magistrates’ Court on the day a trial was due to start.
The court heard how Martin and Lisa Curran were married at Sacred Heart Church in St Helens on April 24, 1987.
But the couple separated in 2006 after the defendant had an affair, but did not divorce.
Then, on July 30 last year, Curran tied the knot with Ms Whiteside at St Michael’s Church in Burtonwood.
Joanne Clark, prosecuting, told how Rev Wilf Alexander had repeatedly asked Curran for proof of his divorce before reluctantly proceeding with the ceremony in front of a packed church.
When Lisa Curran spotted that Ms Whiteside had changed her surname on her Facebook page - as well as discovering wedding photos - she immediately contacted Mr Curran.
He initially denied that the wedding had taken place before claiming that the two of them were already divorced.
In his defence, Mr Curran told Magistrates: “Andrea and my friends are standing by me. I had nothing to gain from marrying her. I was naive in believing what Lisa had told me about our divorce.”
Justices handed Curran, of Fairclough Street, Burtonwood, a 12-month community order in which he must complete 250 hours unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £620 towards prosecution costs at a rate of £100 per month.