A RELIEVED woman has avoided jail after she admitted being married to two men at the same time.

Sarah Jane Evans, 41, tied the knot with Simon Aston at Chester Register Office in June 2014 despite still being hitched to Christopher Evans.

She had married Mr Evans in November 2009 at a ceremony in the Dominican Republic witnessed by family members.

But their marriage later broke down after Mr Evans was sent to prison for drugs offences in November 2012.

Chester Magistrates Court heard on Monday (September 16) that the pair had never registered their marriage in the UK – but the law states that it is still legally binding.

So when Evans married Mr Aston in 2014 she was committing the very rare offence of bigamy.

Prosecuting, Alan Currums said that Mr Evans had threatened to tell the police about his wife’s multiple marriages unless she paid for the divorce.

She reportedly stumped up the money – but he contacted the police anyway in 2018 and she was arrested and interviewed.

“She said she didn’t think her marriage would be valid in the UK,” Mr Currums said. “She didn’t do it for financial gain or out of malice for anyone.”

Paul Ford, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and had made an honest mistake.

“She had received advice that she could remarry without any difficulty,” he said. “This was not advice from my own firm and it was clearly wrong advice.”

He urged magistrates not to impose a sentence of immediate custody, saying this would give Mr Evans “final gratification”.

Mr Ford added: “These cases are few and far between and it’s a very difficult matter to deal with for all concerned.”

Sentencing, chair of magistrates Mark Turner told the defendant: “We feel you knew what was going on during this process. You knew you were married and knew there were steps that should have been taken, although you said you did take some advice.

“You should have believed you had more actions to take before going on with this marriage.”

Evans, of Rosebery Grove, Prenton, Merseyside, was handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, meaning she will not be locked up as long as she stays out of trouble for a year.

She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and pay court costs of £85.