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Double Lives: from undercover cops to secret marriages

on 15/06/2019

Mary Turner Thomson met Will Jordan through online dating.

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As a single mother of one, Mary was open to having a relationship and found Will “totally charming”, humble and accomplished.

He was also terribly romantic. So when Will proposed three weeks after meeting Mary in person, she didn’t suspect a thing.

“From the very beginning of meeting him he was always that kind of intense person. So I wasn’t surprised,” says Mary, who lives in Edinburgh. “Didn’t ring any alarm bells.”

As it turns out, Will was a prolific liar who had two wives, five fiancées and at least a dozen children from several different women. Among other things, he told Mary he was an IT consultant and a secret agent.

“He did it in a very clever way,” says Mary. “He didn’t say, ‘hey baby I’m a spy’ or something like that. What he actually said was, ‘you know, just hear me out.’”

The pair married in 2002 after Mary fell pregnant, a miracle considering Will was supposedly infertile.

Shortly after their wedding, Will said he was being blackmailed by people who knew he was a secret agent. If they didn’t pay the money, their children’s lives would be in danger.

“So I sold everything I possessed, I sold my flat. I sold my life insurance policy, I pretty much literally sold the shirt off my back and gave him everything I had,” she tells Insight.

After years deception and manipulation, Mary sank more and more into severe debt. And she wasn’t the only one.

It wasn’t until “Michelle” – the other Mrs Jordan – phoned Mary that the truth came to light.

“I couldn’t have even imagined what was to follow was to follow. All I knew was is that there was another woman in the same position as me,” says “Michelle”, describing the moment she called Mary.

“My life had just fallen apart exactly the same time her life had fallen apart and I could hear on the phone that she was highly distressed.”

On tonight’s Insight, “Michelle” and Mary join a panel of guests who have led double lives and created an entire fictional existence.

One guest spent years posing as a drug dealer’s girlfriend as part of an undercover operation, until the lines between fact and fiction started to blur. And another pretended to his school friends and teachers that he had a normal life at home, which couldn’t have been further from the truth.

What happens when the deception is exposed? And how does this impact their families?

Catch Insight tonight at 8.30PM on SBS One and streamed live here.

You can join the discussion by using the #insightsbs hashtag on Twitter or by commenting on Insight’s Facebook page.

WATCH A PREVIEW

For almost three years, “Jessie” worked as an undercover police officer. A fellow officer, Joe, posed as a drug dealer and Jessie pretended to be his glamourous “party-girl” girlfriend as part of a covert operation to catch corrupt police officers. But living a lie soon took its toll as the lines between fiction and reality became blurred.


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