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Jane Cole, 56, knew that Gambia in Western Africa
had a reputation for being a hotbed of holiday romances
between young local men and older British women.

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But when she decided to take a break there with her friend Vanessa in 2005, she
never thought she’d find herself caught up in one.

‘I’m quite worldly-wise,’ said Jane, from Rothwell, who considered herself too
sensible to get embroiled with a younger man. But
then she met Michael, a 28-year-old Nigerian bartender, and his charming, attentive
nature drew her in
immediately.

Michael quickly made it clear he wanted more than just a
one-night stand while she was on holiday in the country. He wanted a relationship.
‘I was completely s----d in,’ said Jane.
When Michael proposed, Jane decided to keep it a
secret from her younger sister Tracy, knowing she
would disapprove. Instead, she married him, leaving Tracy to
call her a fool.

Soon after, Jane began to see that her sister might have been
right.
Michael said he wanted to move into with her in the UK, even though she had set her heart on a
new life in The Gambia, as they had discussed.
Nonetheless, she loved him, so she agreed.

But as soon as they arrived in the UK, she began to question his loyalty, especially when he began
disappearing for long
periods.
After calling a number that appeared frequently on his
phone bill, she reached a woman with whom he had been having a
relationship for six years.

‘When I confronted Michael he just admitted it and
laughed. “People laugh when they see us together,” he
said. I was devastated.
My self-confidence sunk to an all-time low. He had drained
me of everything, both financially and emotionally.’
‘I blamed myself for being foolish and falling for it. I’m
supposed to be intelligent but I never had an inkling. I
believed everything he said.

And if he had told me the woman was just a friend, I’d still have believed him.

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