Vengeful husband torched his wife’s designer clothes after she wed her Gambian lover while on holiday

HAPPIER TIMES: Darrell and Michelle Plews.
HAPPIER TIMES: Darrell and Michelle Plews.

A VENGEFUL husband burned his estranged wife’s designer handbags, shoes and clothes on their patio after discovering she had married her Gambian lover.

Darrell Plews, 44, wanted to win back his wife Michelle after she met a new man on holiday in Africa in January.

But he was unsuccessful and instead, he flew into a rage two months later after learning his wife had returned to the Gambia and wed her new man – while she was still married to Plews.

Leeds Crown Court heard Plews went to the couple’s former marital home on Dewsbury Road and burned around £5,000 worth of her belongings in a blaze on the patio.

Prosecutor Patrick Gallagher said Plews, now of Mayfair Court, Wakefield, and his now former wife had been together six years and had two children together.

But there had been tensions between the couple for some time and Michelle Plews went on holiday to Gambia in January this year without her husband.

Mr Gallagher said it was while on holiday that she met a new man, adding: “On return from holiday she told the defendant she didn’t care for him any more and would be seeking a divorce.”

Plews later started sending his estranged wife “love” text messages attempting to win her back. But she rejected the messages and contacted police.

The court heard Plews appeared before magistrates where he admitted harassment and was made the subject of a restraining order.

Mr Gallagher said shortly after Plews’ first court appearance, Michelle Plews flew to the Gambia for a second time to see her new man.

When Mrs Plews returned from Gambia on March 15, she discovered clothing and other property was missing from her bedroom and she saw scorch marks on the patio.

Plews admitted arson and theft.

Richard Canning, for Plews, said he had done it out of revenge.

Mr Canning said Mrs Plews had gone to the Gambia to meet her new man using money from Plews’ business.

In mitigation Mr Canning said: “She then married him while married to the defendant. Apparently that’s legal in Gambia.

“He lost his temper and did something very stupid for which he now has to pay the price.

“He kept his wife, he thought, very happy over the years. It’s difficult for him not see himself as the victim in this case. He has lost his wife, his house and his children.”

Plews was jailed for 12 months but the sentence was suspended for two years. He was ordered to pay his ex-wife £5,000 in compensation.

A restraining order was imposed, banning Plews from contacting Michelle Plews for two years.

Plews also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.