When Mary Turner Thomson, 54, discovered her husband’s double life in 2006, she turned to comfort eating and piled on five stone.
The mother was stunned to discover she was ‘married’ to a bigamist with three other wives and 13 children.
Her partner, William Allen Jordan, was jailed for bigamy, fraud, and gun crimes, had conned her out of £200,000, and was revealed to be a convicted sex offender.
The couple had met online back in 2000, with William proposing to her just three weeks later and posing as an undercover CIA agent.
Mary says the experience of being lied to – and discovering the shocking truth – was so traumatic she gained five stone, weighing in at 19 stone at her heaviest.
But she has now managed to lose a large portion of the weight in 12 weeks thanks to Second Nature, an NHS-backed weight-loss plan that claims to ‘rewire’ bad eating habits.
Mary, who has written a second book about her experience called The Psychopath to follow on from The Bigamist, had two children with US-born William, who had claimed to be a spy so he could defraud vulnerable women in both the UK and the US.
He had told Mary he was an active CIA operative on secondment to MI5 in the UK – and was able to give her ‘proof’, including paychecks.
Mary fell pregnant with Eilidh within six months of meeting Jordan and with Zach three years later. They lived as a family with Mary’s oldest daughter Robyn, from a previous relationship.
She said Jordan persuaded her to sell ‘everything she had’ – including her flat – by leading her to believe her children’s lives were at risk.
But everything fell apart in 2006 when Mary was contacted by another of Jordan’s wives.
It turned out Jordan was a scam artist who had duped Mary and two other women into marriage, as well as fathering 13 children with a total of six women.
William Allen Jordan’s story:
William Allen Jordan’s lies depended on his story about being an active CIA agent who would often have to disappear for months at a time for ‘missions’ – which served as the perfect cover for seeing his three other wives and 13 children.
His manipulation included convincing Mary that their children Eilidh, Zach, and Robyn, were under threat of kidnap, persuading her to hand over more than $250,000 to pay off ‘blackmailers’.
‘He told me somebody he met on an undercover operation was going to kill our kids, kidnap them, rip bits off and send them to us in the post if we didn’t give them money,’ says Mary.
‘By this stage, I was four years in and completely under his control, so I sold everything I owned – my house, my car, my life insurance, everything.’
When Mary discovered her partner was a registered sex offender, William told her the charge had been fabricated by the CIA in order to allow him to question a criminal inside a sex offenders’ wing in jail.
She later learned that he had been arrested and convicted of molesting a girl between the ages of nine and 13 in 1997.
Mary was entirely under William’s spell until she received a phone call from Julie Bringhurst, one of his three other wives.
She rang up and asked Mary if she was Mrs Jordan, before saying: ‘Well, I’m the other Mrs Jordan’.
William was charged and jailed for bigamy, illegally possessing a stun gun and fraud. He spent two and a half years of his five-year sentence in prison in the UK, and upon release was deported back to the US.
When he arrived back in the US, William found another target – Mischele Lewis, who again fell for his story that he was a spy for the British Ministry of Defense.
Mischele was planning a wedding with William when, in 2014, she discovered his past crimes and tipped off the police about his whereabouts.
He was arrested in a parking lot in New Jersey in February 2015 and sentenced to three years in state prison.
After arriving back in the US, the criminal then found another woman to prey upon, Mischele Lewis, who – like the other women before her – fell for his story that he was a spy working for the British Ministry of Defense.
The couple, who met online in 2013, were together for 15 months, before Lewis – like so many women before her – discovered that she had been fed a complicated string of lies.
Lewis says she was planning a wedding and children with Jordan when, in late 2014, she began to realize who he really was, making the shocking discovery about his past crimes, and his past wives and children – all of whom he had covered up throughout their romance.
The nurse and mother-of-two tipped the police off to Jordan’s whereabouts after pulling together all the evidence she needed about his previous offenses, and he was arrested in a parking lot of a strip mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in February of 2015.
Jordan was later sentenced to three years in state prison. He was released in 2016.
Mary said: ‘After living with a psychopath for nearly six years, I lost everything – I was homeless with three children to support.
‘After everything happened I initially gained two stone. I tried different diets to try to lose the weight, but nothing worked. I had resigned myself that this was going to be my size forever.
‘Then in 2016, I slipped a disc in my back and I was bedridden for three months.
‘It was constantly in excruciating pain. I couldn’t sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time and I had to do that sitting up with cushions piled up beside me. I had to crawl to and from the toilet.
‘The kids were having to do the shopping, and every day I’d ask them for crisps and chocolate – I don’t remember eating a proper meal as I was on morphine the whole time.’
Mary felt like ‘giving up’ after piling on the pounds. After two spinal operations, she was finally able to walk again in 2019, but struggled to lose weight.
Then she saw an advert for Second Nature on social media and decided to give it a go.
As part of the programme, Mary started wearing an activity tracker and following a strict meal plan, finding support to keep going with daily motivational articles and an online peer support group.
She managed to lose 10lb in her first week by cutting back carbs and walking more.
After 12 weeks, Mary had lost two stone, and says she finally feels in control of her eating habits.
‘I ate a packet of my favourite Jelly Tots a few weeks ago and they were disgusting,’ she said. ‘My tastebuds have completely changed and to me, things like milk and yoghurt now seem sweet.
‘I don’t see it as a diet, I see it as a new way of life.’
How Mary’s diet changed:
Mary’s diet before:
- Breakfast: Two slices of toast
- Lunch: A sandwich
- Dinner: Pasta Bolognese, cottage pie with rice
- Snacks: Crisps and chocolate
Mary’s diet now:
- Breakfast: Overnight oats with Greek yogurt raspberries
- Lunch: Chicken or ham salad and vegetables
- Dinner: Moussaka cottage pie with carrots and sweet potato
- No snacks
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