A woman who spent over £100,000 on her Sri Lankan toyboy is now fighting to receive the money back. After being heartbroken over his murder, she was then horrified to discover that he had been married whilst they were together.
Diane Peebles, from Edinburgh, spent the large majority of her life savings on her former husband and has finally managed to escape her life in Sri Lanka.
The 61-year-old met hotel worker Priyanjana De Zoysa when she was on holiday at 53 and he was just 20. She says she has now been left with “nothing”.
According to the Daily Record, Diane is now seeking to get her assets returned with the help of a Scottish lawyer.
After splurging her savings on a three-bedroom home in Sri Lanka, the pensioner was horrified to discover that her husband, 33 years her junior, had also been married to an 18-year-old local girl.
At the time of purchasing her home, she was informed that it may be difficult to buy the property, as she was a foreigner, in her own name. Therefore, she trustingly put the home under her new husband’s name.
As well as investing in a home for the two, Diane spent £31,000 on a Toyota Hiace people carrier for Priyanjana to use as a taxi for work.
The couple lived next door to Priyanjana’s family and to make the best impression, Diane would buy them furniture and gifts. She even provided the majority of their food and fuel too.
She said: “My two brothers-in-law and their wives and children are living in my home now rent-free. They don’t deserve to live there.
“That house was built on the work I put into my career over many years and I have nothing to show for it. That can’t be right.”
Diane is hoping that the Scottish lawyer she has hired will be able to help her claim some of the money back on her assets.
Diane added: “I know it’s complicated but bank records will show my money paid for the house and many other things.
“I went from being comfortable to having nothing, so even if I could claim back half of what I spent on his family, it would make a massive difference to my retirement.”
Around eight years ago, Diane decided to holiday in Sri Lanka and immediately, she was smitten with the hotel worker and tuk-tuk driver Priyanjana.
She said: “I thought he was a very nice young man and he was very polite.
“He asked me for my mobile number and then he asked me for my address and I didn’t think anything of it.”
Although aware of the rather big age gap, Diane couldn’t help but relish in the attention.
She explained: “When I got back home he tried to call me, but his English wasn’t that good.
“He wrote me a few letters and from January 2012 we were texting each other and then had a conversation on the phone and he mentioned marriage, and I was a bit taken aback.”
Despite being surprised, Diane – who had never been married – decided to take the plunge and fly back out to Sri Lanka to see her toyboy.
When she arrived, she claims that he was thrilled to see her and kept saying “tomorrow engagement”. As she was from another country, Diane assumed that the couple would need to log their intent to marry at the registrar’s office.
However, Diane ended up taking part in her own wedding ceremony at the office.
She recalled: “She started reciting, ‘Do you take…’
“I was kind of shocked at first, but he was urging me to go ahead and just say it.”
Once the pair were married, Diane insisted that her new husband was “attentive, romantic and loving”, initially.
Wanting the best start for herself and her husband, Diane decided to sell her flat back in Scotland for £105,000. She then took early retirement from her job in customer services with Edinburgh City Council and the couple began to build their home together.
Yet it wasn’t long before everything began to fall apart.
Having agreed to fund the building of a three-bed home for the couple and having upgraded his vehicle to a minibus so that Priyanjana could work for himself, it wasn’t long before the cracks began to show.
Diane ended up buying his family a fridge-freezer and a water purifier, before she knew it, it was becoming expected that she fund the rest of his family too.
Living off a £363-a-month pension, Diane was struggling for cash and realised she couldn’t be providing for the rest of Priyanjana’s family if they were to be stable.
This issue couldn’t even be addressed, as Diane realised her husband was quickly losing interest and was never even home for her to talk with him.
She said: “He spent more time at his mum’s than he did with me. Or he’d go out with his friends at night and not come home.
“It just wasn’t working out. We spent a lot of time arguing about money. I realised it was a sham.”
Then one day, Diane stumbled across a Valentine’s Day card that said “to my husband” inside. Confused, she asked Priyanjana who it was from and why. He then insisted it was just a silly prank being played by a friend.
It wasn’t long after this that she discovered the truth, Priyanjana had married a local woman. She was horrified, she had actually been introduced to the woman on a previous occasion and they’d even had a cup of tea together in Diane and her husband’s home.
In 2017, Diane was finally admitting to herself that she had gotten into a difficult and messy situation.
It was around this time that she learnt her husband had been murdered. Apparently, some local thugs had heard of the money she had been giving him and they had tried to extort him for cash, yet it had quickly turned deadly.
Diane appeared on the TV show This Morning and said: “All my friends and family told me not to go over.
“But I thought he loved me, and I loved him. You do silly things when you’re in love.”
Having to deal with the betrayal of her husband and then his tragic death, Diane was already feeling heartbroken, but she now found herself stranded in Sri Lanka with everything she had paid for – including her home and minibus – all in her deceased husband’s name.
Desperate to get back home, Diane made some friends online, including a retired police chief, who helped her to return back home to Scotland.
She commented: “I feel sad I gave up my life.”
Diane now wants to warn other women about the dangers, if they find themselves in a similar situation.
She added: “Don’t get involved with the locals, because they’re all very poor.
“A lot of them are looking to marry European women because they think we’re all very rich. I wasn’t very rich – but in their eyes, I was rich.”