A man is facing seven years in jail for living a double life married to two women in Britain and Germany at the same time.
Jason Hayter’s double life was exposed when his daughter from one of his marriages messaged his second wife on Facebook asking what her connection to him was.
Hayter, who is a former soldier, had five children with his two wives and lived with one family in Germany, where he was stationed with the Army, and visited the other in the UK.
The women never knew about himself because he always explained his lengthy absences on being away with the Army and, after he left, training as a paramedic, or on mental health problems.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard Hayter was already married and divorced before legally marrying his second wife, Tracey Larkcombe, in 2010 when she was pregnant with their first child.
They had met two years earlier on a dating website and lived in Germany. A second child was born in 2015.
In the same year he married Mrs Larkcombe he met Sara Hayter, also through a website, and began a clandestine relationship with her in the UK.
They had a child in 2014 and married in 2016 – while still legally married to his second wife – before having twins in 2018.
Hayter, of Kirby Cross near Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, appeared in court in a pinstripe suit while sitting in a wheelchair as he admitted a charge of bigamy. He faces up to seven years in jail when he is sentenced at Norwich Crown Court next month.
Prosecutor Sally Harris said the impact of his offence on his two unwitting families had been ‘very significant’.
This had been aggravated by the length of time it had continued, with the overlap in the relationships and the children involved.
‘No effort was made to rectify the situation, even when a divorce was asked for,’ she told the court.
Statements from both of Hayter’s current wives were read out in court on Tuesday.
Mrs. Larkcombe said he was ‘always going backwards and forwards to the UK for training’ while he was based in Germany with the Army.
She added: ‘I never thought anything was wrong. Him being away was normal for us.’
But after one absence he sent her a text message saying: ‘I don’t love you anymore, I’m gay.’
Mrs Larkcombe said she was abandoned and left to handle debt collectors, explaining: ‘He walked out on me and the children. He has never sent a birthday card and never asked about the children. We have had nothing from him.
‘I was shocked to learn that he had married again and had three other children.’
Mrs Hayter understood the disappearances were due to her husband training as a paramedic for London Ambulance Service.
She said: ‘We would always make plans together and at no point during this time did I suspect he had other families.
‘I don’t want anything to do with him. I did not see this coming. He has manipulated me. I believe everything he has said to me is a lie. I don’t think he knows the truth anymore.’
Charles Judge, defending, said Hayter had been in the armed forces for 24 years, serving in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He was later diagnosed with PTSD and suffered a stroke last year.
Mr Judge added his client’s 2016 marriage took place after the breakdown of his 2010 union.
‘This is not a case where any false documents have been produced to allow the second marriage,’ he told the court.
Hayter was told that all sentencing options were open, including prison.
The offence of bigamy carries a maximum sentence of seven years jail but there are no sentencing guidelines due to its rarity.