Man’s sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends

Man’s sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends

Catherine Garrod said she was groomed into her ex-boyfriend’s double life (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk) A woman has revealed how a ‘preda

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Man's sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends
Catherine Garrod said she was groomed into her ex-boyfriend’s double life (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

A woman has revealed how a ‘predator’ ex-boyfriend groomed her into a ‘fake relationship’ while living a double life with another girlfriend.

Catherine Garrod, 38, said she was ‘trapped’ for three and a half years by her ex who started out ‘charming and attentive’.

She said they met on Plenty of Fish and he was ‘very keen to progress the relationship’ and settle down ‘like his mum and dad’.

He wanted to look at houses and they did within six months, but none of them ‘were ever quite right’ for him. As soon as she ‘committed’, she said he ‘pulled back’.

She said the relationship followed this manipulative pattern for months on end where ‘he’d promise the world but deliver nothing’.

Catherine repeatedly tried to end the relationship but he would suddenly become ‘loving and attentive’ again, saying he ‘couldn’t imagine a life without her’.

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It wasn’t until she got a phone call from an unknown woman in October last year that she realised it was all a cover for a dark secret.

For more than two years he had been living a double life with a secret girlfriend a short drive away.

Man's sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends
Catherine Garrod discovered the truth when the other woman contacted after years of deception and lies (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

The other woman had discovered a WhatsApp message from Catherine on his phone and found her the next day on Facebook.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘When she found me she assumed I was the affair. But when she went through my Facebook profile she realised we had been together for a long time.

‘She then sent me photos of cards he had written telling her how much he loved her, almost to try and justify that she didn’t know about me.

‘I think she thought I was the primary girlfriend and she was the affair, but I said “I don’t see it like that, I think we’ve both been completely f**ked over.”

‘He was great at writing cards. He was very heartfelt on anniversaries, on birthdays and at Christmas.’

When Catherine saw one of the heartfelt cards, she discovered it was a ‘word for word’ copy to one she received when he was on a ‘work trip’.

She added: ‘I discovered when he was holiday with me he would tell her he was away for work.’

Man's sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends
The identical cards he sent to both women

Within an hour of talking on the phone they both got in their cars and drove to his parent’s house.

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That’s when they discovered his family and friends had known about his double life all along.

Catherine said: ‘I don’t know if they knew the whole time but they knew he was leading a double life and didn’t tell either of us.

‘I hadn’t seen his parents for quite a while. I lived 45 minutes away while the other woman lived around the corner.

‘She obviously became the one who spent the most time with his family and friends.’

‘I just don’t understand where their morals were,’ she added. ‘These are the people I thought were nice.’

Catherine said they were both ‘stunned’ and spoke for hours piecing together the years of deception.

She said: ‘We discovered every move was calculated, every emotion was mimicked, and what we thought was love was an obsession with controlling our lives.

Man's sinister double life revealed by identical cards sent to two girlfriends
Catherine is urging other victims to come forward and report domestic abuse (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

‘We both went through a period of being absolutely terrified. We’d come home to our empty homes and check our rooms to see if something had been moved.

‘I was convinced that he’d been here. I was having horrendous nightmares.

‘I suffered quite bad anxiety. My whole reality had gone.

‘He had violated my mind and my body. Not only had he controlled my life, but sleeping with somebody who is pretending to be somebody they aren’t, that to me, is physical abuse.

‘I didn’t know who he was. He was pretending to be somebody else and that’s just horrible.

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‘You question everything because your whole reality wasn’t real.’

Catherine, who lives in Staines, reported him to Surrey Police but said she was told living a double life ‘would not meet the threshold for coercive control’.

She said: ‘The officer said the CPS just won’t take it on. I said that’s ridiculous and they basically said we don’t necessarily disagree with you but we can only operate within the confines of the law.’

Catherine also accused her boyfriend of threatening to kill her, which Surrey Police did take action on, charging him with domestic assault.

But he was later cleared of the charge at Staines Magistrates’ Court in February.

Catherine has been inspired to share her story after watching Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s account of her own experience of domestic abuse in the House of Commons.

She believes there are more victims like her out there and has set up a website called ‘He Controlled Both of Us’, where victims can come forward, and stay anonymous if they wish to.

She has also launched a petition to urge the government to define ‘leading a double life’ as a form of domestic abuse.

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