'My world came crashing down': Bride's horror of returning from honeymoon to hear that new husband had stolen £18,000 from her family car business
MydeaMedia idea:Dr.Hari Nair
- Charlie Astrand, 25, greeted by her father at the airport as she returned from the luxury two-week honeymoon in the Caribbean to be told her husband was a fraudster
- Huw Jones, 31, kept his deception secret from his bride-to-be during their two-year engagement
- Charlie's father Graham found out about the fraud two days into his daughter's honeymoon
- But he was advised to keep it quiet until the happy couple returned - so went to the airport armed with his dossier of evidence
- Charlie said: 'He was loving, caring and romantic, always spoiling me with presents and treats'
- The couple have now divorced and Huw has remarried and become a father
- Salesman avoids a jail sentence after admitting 24 charges of fraud and theft
A bride returned from her dream honeymoon to find her father waiting at the airport - to tell her that her new husband had stolen £18,000 from the family business.
Charlie Astrand, 25, said her 'world came crashing down' when she was told the man she married was a thief and a fraudster.
Primary school teacher Charlie thought her new life was perfect - she had just married charming Huw Jones, 31, a sales executive at her father's car dealership.
Perfect wedding: Charlie Astrand, 25, with her new husband Huw Jones, 31, on their wedding day. Charlie's father Graham is pictured left, and her mother Alison is right. But when she returned from honeymoon, the primary school teacher's dream turned into a nightmare
But a court heard how the newlyweds were away only two days when Charlie's father Graham discovered his new son-in-law had fiddled the books.
He went to the police but was advised to let the couple finish their honeymoon before confronting Jones back in Britain.
Graham, 53, waited at the airport's arrivals lounge armed with the proof that Jones had forged signatures to steal from the business and customers.
The honeymoon drama was revealed in court when Jones admitted a total of 24 charges of fraud, forgery and theft.
His family have now pledged to pay back £18,000 after he pleaded guilty to the offences.
Anguish: Charlie, 25, with her father Graham who broke the news to her that her new husband had been stealing from the family home as he drove her back from the airport
'But then everything was shattered. My world came crashing in on me. I saw my dad waiting to pick me up as planned - he gave me the biggest hug I've ever had.
'But Huw's family were there too and they just sort of whisked him away without a word.
'I asked my dad what was wrong and he just said: "Come to the car".'
Charlie was shown the paperwork that proved her new husband had defrauded the family firm of more than £18,000.
She said: 'The next thing I was on my way home with my dad after being told Huw had been stealing from us. I had a panic attack in the car - I couldn't take in what was happening.
'In the four years I had known him there was not the slightest clue anything was wrong.
'We lived together for two years and he was loving, caring and romantic, always spoiling me with presents and treats.
Picture perfect: Charlie's parents paid £20,000 for her wedding and contributed towards their two-week luxury honeymoon on the Caribbean island of Aruba
Wedding joy: Charlie, right, had no idea that Huw Jones was defrauding her father's company during her four-year relationship - until the news was broken to her after her honeymoon
His secret: Huw kept the deception from his new bride Charlie but has now admitted 24 charges of fraud, forgery and theft
Policeman's son Jones yesterday avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty to fraud, forgery and theft.
Prosecutor Heath Edwards said: 'Jones had forged signatures, manipulated the accounts and sweetened deals.
'He did it to impress his fiancee and her family - and to up his sales figures for commission.
'Jones forged documents and upped the amount of money in loan applications, unbeknown to customers.
'He misused a customer's credit card and drove another customer to the bank to get £500 cash for a deposit which he stole.'
Mr Edwards said Jones kept the fraud secret from his fiancee during their two-year engagement leading up to their marriage in 2010 - but the con came unravelled while he was on honeymoon.
Mr Edwards said: 'Mr Astrand was waiting at the airport to confront his new son-in-law when he stepped off the plane.
Joy that didn't last: Charlie, left, has now got a new boyfriend while Huw has remarried and become a father
Family delight: Charlie, 25, with her parents Graham and Alison on her wedding day in 2010. Days later Graham discovered Charlie's husband, and his employee, had been carrying out a deception
Con: When this picture was taken Huw Jones' deception was still a secret - but it unravelled days later
'He deliberately manipulated the system in order to sell more cars.'
The court heard Jones offered free services and discounts he was not entitled to give in order to placate suspicious customers.
Laurence Jones, defending, said: 'Jones had been taking on responsibilities he could not cope with in an overwhelming desire to impress his future father-in-law.
'The nub of his offending is being reckless in his role as salesman offering deals which were not sustainable.
'He has learned a very long, hard salutary lesson and is remorseful for his actions.'
Judge Dan Williams jailed Jones for nine months but suspended the sentence for 18 months.
He was ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work and told to complete a thinking skills programme.
Judge Williams told him: 'I have given you a chance even though I am not convinced you deserve it. Please don't blow it.'
Wedding day joy: Charlie, 25, and Huw, 31, who subsequently divorced and both have new partners
Mother's pride: Alison Astrand with her daughter Charlie on the wedding day in 2010
After the case, University graduate Charlie said: 'I was in tears again when I found out he was not going to jail.
'I expected him to get prison - that would have been the right sentence for what he did to me and my family. I have bumped into him in our town since we came back from honeymoon. But I have moved on.
'I am not bitter or angry about what happened - but I was terribly hurt and it's taken me two years to get over it.'
Jones also moved on in life - he remarried last month after becoming a father six months ago.
Charlie said: 'He has lived a happy life for the past two-and-a-half years - he's met someone new, got married and even has a child.
Despair: Primary school teacher Charlie said she burst into tears again when she found out that Huw had not been jailed for his deception
Happy couple: Charlie with her new boyfriend Chris Heneman who is an accountant
'We really thought he would go to prison and that would be the end of it.
'But I feel like he's had no punishment for the pain and hurt he's caused me and my family.'
Charlie has started a new relationship with accountant Chris Henneman.
She said: 'I have a very happy life with Chris, and it's because of him I am where I am today - he's been my rock.'
Charlie's father Graham today hit out at the 'lenient' sentence given to his former son-in-law and employee.
He said: 'I wanted justice for Charlie and for our customers but he was let off with a suspended sentence.
'I believe that is a disgrace he deserved to spend time behind bars for what he had done. But the important thing is four us not to let this change us as a family. We are better than that.'