A Scotsman who spent £ 100,000 on the family of his Sri Lankan toyboy husband, who was later shot dead after a large marriage to a local woman, wants to get his money back.
Diane Peebles, 61, of Edinburgh, was fortunate to flee Sri Lanka alive after gunmen found themselves looking for her in the hotel where she was staying shortly before returning to Scotland.
Now, having had time to weigh the marriage, abandonment and exploitation, he has decided to take legal action to try to recover some of his assets.
Diane spent £ 60,000 to build a house for her and her husband, Priyanjana, 33 years younger, in the park of her parents’ home.
She was told that it was difficult for a foreigner to own a property in Sri Lanka, so she accepted that the house should be put in the name of her husband.
He also spent £ 31,000 on a Toyota Hiace courier for Priyanjana to use as a taxi, in addition to furnishing his home, buying furniture and gifts for his family and paying for most of their food and fuel while living next to them.
He said last night: “My two brothers-in-law, their wives and their children live in my house now without rent. They don’t deserve to live there.
“That house was built on the job that I have put into my career for many years and I have nothing to show. It can’t be right. “
Diane is now looking for a Scottish lawyer to advise her, hoping that she may have some claims on her assets.
He said, “I know it’s complicated, but bank records will show my money paid for the house and many other things.
“I went from being comfortable to having nothing, so even if I could claim half of what I spent on his family, it would make a big difference to my retirement.”
Already married to Priyanjana after a romantic holiday, but returning at intervals to enjoy other holidays with him, in 2015 Diane decided to move with her husband.
She sold her apartment in Musselburgh, East Lothian for £ 105,000 and retired early from her job as a customer service assistant at the City of Edinburgh.
He had known Priyanjana when he was 53 and he was 20 years old.
He said: “I was not Shirley Valentine, unhappy and looking for love.
“I had a home, a good job, family and friends. But I didn’t have a great social life, I was used to traveling alone, so I wanted a little more out of life and I was easily blown away.
“I couldn’t believe he was interested in me but it was very convincing.
“He chased me, he was kind, kind. I really thought I had a chance for love and companionship and I agreed to make the move. “
Diane agreed to finance the construction of their new three-bedroom house and purchased the vehicle so that her husband, whom he had met while working in a hotel, could work alone.
But soon she found herself asking to pay all the family’s expenses.
He said: “I bought them a fridge-freezer, a fan and a water purifier and it soon became the norm for me to pay for everything.
“Before long, I was struggling and there was nothing left but my £ 363 per month pension. But my husband kept asking for more. I thought he loved me, but I was learning that he loved my money more. The idyllic life I had dreamed of was not the life I was living. “
Diane realized that her husband had lost interest. He apologized for his absences, which lasted for days, saying he was busy working. But in 2016 he found a Valentine’s Day card for him marked “my husband”.
He claimed that a friend had made a bad joke, but in December of that year he discovered that he had married an 18-year-old local woman while he was married to her.
In May 2017, while struggling to deal with the chaos in which she found herself, her husband was shot dead, just three weeks after the other wife’s brother was also killed.
Diane was trapped in Sri Lanka for some time yet and still expected to finance the family lifestyle.
She only escaped the following year after making a handful of friends online, including a retired police chief, who helped her leave the country and return to Scotland.
Diane said: “I hope someone can help me recover something because after all the years I’ve worked, I don’t deserve to fight.
“I am not the first woman to fall into this type of trap and I will not be the last, but I hope that my story will make people stop and think.”