Real Life

I was scammed and poisoned by my own husband with spaghetti bolognese

My family had always despaired of David's rich food on my stomach.

By As told to Take 5

Elizabeth Smith, 62, shares her shocking true life story;

As I led the man I'd just met into the coffee shop, I couldn't quite believe what I was doing.

I'd only got chatting to David a few minutes earlier in a nearby clothing store, but there had been a real spark between us.

"I'm only in town for work," he said. "I don't suppose you know a good place for coffee, do you?"

Grinning, I'd told him I did.

I'd never done anything like this before.

Now, looking across the table into his twinkling blue eyes, I felt nervous.

Luckily, David soon put me at ease.

Like me, he was divorced and had grown up kids who were his world.

He's a man after my own heart, I thought.

We exchanged numbers and during long phone calls we got to know each other better.

David told me he'd been in the army and now owned shares in a factory that sold top secret components to the Ministry of Defence.

As well as all the excitement, he'd experienced sadness in his life too: he'd lost his wife, a professional ballerina, in a car accident a few years earlier.

We made such a good team.
We made such a good team.

My heart went out to him.

I thought David was one of the kindest men I'd ever met.

Our romance wasn't easy because we lived hundreds of kilometres away from each other but he visited when we could and spoke on the phone all the time. I knew I was falling for him in a big way.

Annoyingly, on my first ever visit to David's house, I came down with a terrible sickness bug.

Talk about a romance killer, I thought.

"I'm so sorry," I said to David as he cleaned up after me. "We're supposed to be in the honeymoon stage."

"Don't you worry about it," he smiled.

I knew then he was a keeper.

The bug caused me to lose weight so David cooked up plenty of soups and my favourite spag bol to keep my strength up.

Thankfully, when my 60th birthday came around, I was feeling better.

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I couldn't believe it when David whisked me to Mexico and proposed.

We had a small wedding after we got back and made plans to move in together.

Before we could do that, David needed to sell his shares in the factory so we could buy a place.

At that time, my health started to deteriorate again.

After one particularly bad bout of sickess, I woke up naked on the bathroom floor, covered in my own mess, with David hovering over me in tears.

"Liz, I thought I'd lost you," he cried. He held me in his arms and helped me to wash off in the bath tub.

In the end, I was so sick, I had to be admitted to hospital.

David cooked for me when I was sick.
David cooked for me when I was sick.

One doctor there was convinced I had motor neurone disease, but despite test after test, I never received a diagnosis.

One day when I was well enough to walk into town, I went to get some cash out and while I was there, I printed off a mini statement.

"What on earth....?" I panicked when I read it.

Thousands of dollars were missing from my account.

Since I'd been sick I'd not paid much attention to my finances, but I noticed a pattern.

The big withdrawals that had been made were always on the weekends and coincided with the dates when David had visited.

I shook my head in disbelief. Surely this was some kind of mistake.

Shaking, I phoned David and told him about the missing money.

"Are you accusing me of stealing from you?" he asked angrily.

"Of course not," I said. "But if it wasn't you, who was it?"

Baffled, I rang the bank and told them my card had been cloned.

Me with David - he was the love of my life.
Me with David - he was the love of my life.

Over the coming weeks, my health got worse.

David even turned up unannounced, he was so worried about me.

He took me for a drive to get me out of the house, but when we returned home, I was shocked to find my front door was wide open.

"I'll go and investigate," he said, parking up and running in.

When David walked back over to the car, his face was white.

"There's been a break in," he said. The safe was empty and my money was gone.

We called the police who came to take statements.

The next day one of the officers knocked on the door and asked to speak to me privately.

"Liz, your whole world is about to come crashing down," he said.

"What do you mean?" I frowned.

"Your husband staged the break in," he said. "We found the $3000 in the boot of his car."

My legs buckled and I fell to floor.

David was the love of my life. How could he have done this to me?

David being led away from court.
David being led away from court.

I wanted to talk to him but by then he'd already been arrested and taken away.

It felt like a bereavement.

After that, I did some digging and found out everything David had told me was a lie.

He'd never been in the army and he was a toolmaker at the factory, not a shareholder.

What's more, his first wife was alive and well!

He was nothing but a thief and a fantasist.

But while I was an emotional wreck, something unexpected happened - my physical health recovered.

My family had always despaired of David's rich food on my stomach because my bouts of sickness always seemed to coincide with his visits.

Now I wondered if there was more to it.

Desperate to find out, I rang David who was out on bail.

I made up a story, saying doctors were doing toxicology tests on some old blood samples of mine.

Then I started to record the conversation.

"It's funny because since you left I've been feeling like my old self," I said.

"Please don't go to the police," he said, sounding flustered.

The picture he sent telling me he had cancer.
The picture he sent telling me he had cancer.

Then he really started talking. He admitted lacing my food with laxatives.

So my illness really wasn't a mystery at all.

David had been poisoning me for three years, since right at the beginning of our relationship.

He'd even poisoned me when we'd got married.

My shock turned to anger.

"You could have killed me!" I screamed.

"It was only laxatives," he said. "Please don't take me away from my children."

I was furious.

I guessed he'd wanted me weak and vulnerable so I wouldn't notice the money going missing from my account.

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