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Husband tricked into believing wife’s children were his awarded £25,000 damages

Tuesday 22 January 2013

A husband has won £25,000 in damages for “bereavement” after his wife tricked him into believing children whom he raised until they were teenagers were his rather than the products of affairs.

Wesley Johnson

Richard Rodwell sued his ex-wife Helen for deceit after finding out the children he thought were his son and daughter both had a different father. The 46-year-old factory manager said it was “like a bereavement because I have lost the children I believed were mine”.

“I can’t stop thinking about the children as they were my life,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“I always wanted children and grandchildren and now it’s too late in life for me.”

Mr Rodwell, of Peterborough, helped raise Adam and Laura as his own until his marriage with their mother broke down and the couple divorced in 2004, the newspaper reported.

His ex-wife was granted custody and Mr Rodwell paid £300 a month maintenance for the children for the next four years.

But after hearing rumours that Laura, now 20, was not his daughter, he confronted her mother and ordered DNA tests in 2008.

“When I saw the letter stating that I wasn’t Laura’s father I just broke down,” he told the newspaper.

He added he would have been happy to have a close relationship with the children as a stepfather, but said his ex-wife would not allow this. “She didn’t even say sorry,” Mr Rodwell told the newspaper.

“It’s so sad.”

The couple first met in 1989 when they were both fruit pickers at a factory near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and married a year later.

But Mr Rodwell said that by 2004 the marriage was struggling, with his then-wife disappearing for several days with no explanation as to where she was going or why.

Mr Rodwell, who has since married his second wife Trudi, 47, was awarded compensation of £12,500 for each child in 2011, along with costs of £25,000.

Roger Terrell, his solicitor, told the newspaper: “The court treated it as akin to bereavement, awarding a similar sum to the one you would receive if your child died in an accident.”

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013 Mrs Rodwell, 44, declined to comment when approached by the newspaper.

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