A mum’s life fell apart when she discovered that her husband who she passionately loved turned out to be a serial bigamist who had three other wives, 13 kids and horrifically, was a registered sex offender.
Mary Turner Thomson, 54, went on an online dating site in 2000 and soon fell in love with US-born William Allen Jordan. Before she knew it, it had turned into a whirlwind romance and within three weeks, he proposed to her. Despite it being so soon in their relationship, she said yes.
Mary, from Edinburgh, continued the fast pattern with William and within six months she fell pregnant with their first child, daughter Eilidh, and three years later, their son Zach was born.
However, Mary’s world came crashing down when she was contacted in 2006 by the ‘other Mrs Jordan’, who said she had been married to William for over a decade.
Quickly, William’s web of lies was exposed and he revealed to Mary the truth. He had three ‘wives’, 13 kids with six women and was a registered sex offender. He had been convicted in 1997 of molesting girls between the age of nine and 13.
Mary was horrified, throughout their time together William had been living in the same house as her daughter Robyn, from a previous relationship.
Due to falling for William’s charm, the mum had lost everything.
Somehow, William convinced Mary that he was a CIA operative and was on secondment to the MI5. To back up his story, he even showed her paychecks.
William convinced Mary that she would have to sell ‘everything she had’ which included her flat, in order to protect her children, as he told her that they were all in danger as he received threats from kidnappers due to his dangerous job. These kidnappers would demand ransoms.
Behind the scenes, William had actually conned Mary out of £200,000 and used his detailed spy story to fund his lifestyle with his other families.
Heartbroken by what had happened, Mary wrote ‘The Bigamist’ and ‘The Psychopath’ in order to release some of the pain caused by the man she had loved.
She said: “After living with a psychopath for nearly six years, I lost everything – I was homeless with three children to support.”
In 2009, William was unmasked for the evil person he truly was behind the facade. He was a scam artist and was jailed for bigamy, fraud and gun crimes. He ended up being deported back to the US.
Previously, Mary had said: “When he first told me that he worked for the CIA, it was really thrilling. Seeing someone that you’re with really making a difference felt a bit like dating Superman.”
Since discovering the father of her children’s lies, Mary has been trying to pick up the pieces and start afresh.
She said: “Psychologically I was so manipulated. He stopped me being involved with my family, my friends, everybody.
“In just over the space of a year, he took everything away from me.
“I sold my flat, the money from that disappeared. I sold my life insurance policy, I borrowed money.
“Finally I was tapped out, there was nothing else. A few months after that, I found out the truth.
“When the police called, it was like coming out of the Matrix. It was like the walls around me collapsed.
“There was nobody chasing me, nobody coming after the children. But at the same time, it was horrendous to know that he really was this sexual predator, bigamist, conman.”
She added: “He actively goes out to impregnate women to rip them off for money. That’s what he does.”
Traumatised by what had happened to her, Mary felt that comfort eating was a distraction and soon began to pile on the pounds. Before she knew it, she was tipping the scale at 19 stone.
The mum-of-three said: “After everything happened I initially gained two stone. I tried different diets to try to lose the weight, but nothing worked. I had resigned myself that this was going to be my size forever.”
In 2016, Mary slipped a disc in her back and was left bed-bound.
She said: “It was constantly in excruciating pain. I couldn’t sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time and I had to do that sitting up with cushions piled up beside me. I had to crawl to and from the toilet.
“The kids were having to do the shopping, and every day I’d ask them for crisps and chocolate – I don’t remember eating a proper meal as I was on morphine the whole time.”
Not being able to move, Mary’s weight crept up even further and she gained three stone and was a size 24.
In order to finally walk again, Mary underwent two operations between 2016 and 2018. Yet she still found it hard to lose weight as she was encouraged to take it slow.
Mary said: “The very fact I could walk the shops was bliss!
“I had always wanted to get in control of my weight, but nothing was working.
“I was eating homecooked meals, but they were very carbohydrate-heavy – and I couldn’t move enough or fast enough to burn off the calories.”
Mary then came across Second Nature, an NHS-backed program which is a weight loss plan that ‘rewires’ bad eating habits. She was sent ‘smart’ scales, an activity tracker, a recipe book, a meal plan and daily motivational articles.
Within three weeks, Mary was delighted to have lost 10Ib and described the feeling as “incredible”.
She said: “So many diets focus on just one thing – exercise or calories – but with Second Nature, it’s the combination of everything – food, exercise, sleep and water. You learn step-by-step how to lose weight for good.
“I didn’t understand why carbs were bad, and they explained the science behind what carbs do to your body. They send articles every day and reading those got me in the right mindset.
“I was also sent smart scales and a pedometer – and was encouraged to walk more every day. I felt very supported and like I wasn’t alone – and everything made sense, and it was a really clear path forward.”
After 12 weeks of following the plan, Mary lost two stones and said she finally felt “in control” and says that her tastebuds have changed since following the diet.
She noted: “I ate a packet of my favourite Jelly Tots a few weeks ago and they were disgusting! My tastebuds have completely changed and to me, things like milk and yoghurt now seem sweet.
“I don’t see it as a diet, I see it as a new way of life.”
In 2015, William was sentenced to three years in jail in New Jersey, for theft by deception and impersonating a government official after he had conned another woman.