A 68-year-old woman has accused her Ghanaian husband, 39, of conning her out of her £18,000 (Ksh2.5 million).
Beth Haining, a former probation officer in the United Kingdom, fell for Rodney Cudjoe, a Ghanaian musician, in late 2014.
Haining says she never thought she would fall for a man “who is bent on swindling my money”.
“I have been a stupid old woman who should know better,” the sexagenarian said as quoted by the Dailymail.
“I used to laugh at women who fall for these good-looking toy boys from abroad and think how gullible they are. Now I’m one of them.”
The grandmother of four met Rodney Cudjoe — who stands at 6 feet and 1 inches tall — online in December 2014.
After eight months of chatting on a dating site, Beth flew to Accra, Ghana in August 2015 to meet her online lover.
Upon arriving in Accra, Rodney seduced and proposed to Beth in front of his friends.
Beth went ahead with the wedding even though her two children back in the United Kingdom warned her against the move.
But after paying for a spouse visa and lavishing £18,000 (Ksh2.5 million) of her savings on her new groom and his business ventures, she claimed the gentle, attentive man she’d fallen in love with became sulky, moody and cold.
Beth claims her husband complained incessantly about the food, the freezing British winters and how Beth treated him. According to Rodney, the 68-year-old treated him like a slave when she asked him to paint her living room blue.
Eventually after rowing non-stop, Beth refused to renew his visa and gave him the money to fly home along with the taxi fare to the airport.
Instead, Rodney stayed in the UK and falsely accused Beth of beating him so badly. Beth was, consequently, interrogated by police.
She wasn’t charged with assault and is now divorcing Rodney for the irreparable breakdown of their marriage after complaining to the Home Office that he won’t go back to Ghana. They curtailed his leave to stay in the UK.
“He told me I was beautiful and that he loved me, but he lied to me and used me. I had just sold my house when we met and had some savings. I fell for him and thought he was genuine. I thought this was my dream romance coming true and I lavished him with attention and gifts. I paid for everything, and we spoke about starting businesses together as I wanted us to be happy.
“We had the most amazing time in Ghana, it was magical. He couldn’t do enough for me. But Rodney changed as soon as he came to Britain. He spent more time sleeping on the sofa than he did in my bed. He would argue and shout about everything — the food, the cold and having to find work.
“He got a job in a packing factory as I said I didn’t have enough money to pay for everything. But he said: ‘How can you be broke when you’re British?’ He thought this was the land of milk and honey. It was a rude awakening when he saw the reality of British life and living with me. He was a completely different person — he was either shouting or sulking for days at a time.
“My two children and friends didn’t like him and when they came round he would go into another room. I thought it was a culture shock and he would adapt.
“I wanted to make it work but eventually I realised it was all a lie,” said Beth.
After their relationship hit a snag, both Beth and Rodney agreed that he would return to Ghana as his visa was up for renewal.
“I gave him the airfare and the money for the taxi but he took the key from the front door and didn’t leave,” said Beth.
“I had to change the locks and then two police officers came to the door saying that he had accused me of assaulting him. I never thought he would try and get me arrested.
“I’m half his size, twice his age and have never hit anyone. It was ridiculous but they asked me to give a statement and so I ended up being quizzed for an hour in the local police station. I was petrified, but luckily I had a solicitor and the police released me with no further action taken. I couldn’t believe the man I loved and who I’d brought over here so we could be together could accuse me of that.
“The solicitor even recognised me because he’d read my reports when I was a probation officer. It was so embarrassing and I knew then I had to divorce Rodney.”
Beth recounted how she met Rodney online, and how an initially harmless series of chats grew into flirty conversations that promised something more than just a platonic relationship.
“We’d seen pictures of each other and there was a huge age difference. So, I didn’t realise he was flirting at first. I liked him and after a few months he asked if he could borrow some money as he was waiting for a cheque to come through.
“It was just £200 (Ksh27,850) so I did, and he promised to pay me back. Then he needed some money for some studio equipment and to put on some shows where we would share the profits and I sent him another £2,000 (Ksh278,500).
“We began talking about meeting up. I’d been to Ghana before as I raised funds for and been a volunteer at orphanages over there and he asked me to visit him.”
She jetted out to meet Rodney in August 2015. “He picked me up and gave me a peck on the cheek, but in the car, he gave me a full-on kiss which gave me butterflies,” Beth said.
“I realised then we weren’t just going to be friends and that night we had sex.
“We spent all our time together, eating out and drinking, meeting all his friends. He always had his arm around me and was kissing me. He couldn’t do enough for me.”
Rodney even asked Beth to marry him four or five times but she refused, saying they didn’t know each other well enough.
A week before she was due to fly home they went to a club — and he stood on the stage and proposed.
“He said he wanted to spend his life with me and had arranged a surprise wedding for five days later on 7 October, 2015, the day before I was due to fly home. All his friends were there and they were clapping and cheering. I didn’t feel like I could say no. I loved him but I thought it was too soon to get married.
“I called my children who told me not to do it. They said he was too young and I didn’t know him, but I thought it was love.”
The next day she bought a green wedding dress, the rings and asked her neighbour to send over her divorce papers from her first marriage, which had ended in the 1970s.
“It was when we handed in our papers that I realised Rodney’s real age. He had told me he was 40 but when I saw his date of birth I realised he’d lied and really he was in his 30s. I was a bit shocked but it was too late by then.
Beth flew home the next day and paid a lawyer £3,000 (Ksh418,000) to arrange for Rodney’s visa. It was granted in February 2017. Rodney, thereafter, left for the United Kingdom.
“I was excited to see Rodney but he was a completely different person. He didn’t stop moaning and nothing I did was good enough. I had a pension but also ran workshops for people with depression and anxiety, but I wanted him to work and he got a job in a packing factory.
“He sent all the money back to Ghana to buy equipment for a music studio so I paid all the bills in Britain.
“He wanted kids and I said I obviously couldn’t have them and he then said there was no point in having sex. He began criticising me, saying he didn’t like my cooking and wanted to cook his own food, like yams, plantains and rice. He also said I was treating him like a slave as I asked him to do things round the house. I told him ‘that’s just being a husband’ but he didn’t like it.
“He thought I should do everything as I was his wife. One time I asked him to clean up his mess and he slammed a knife down so hard on the kitchen worktop that he damaged it. I was a bit scared.”
Beth said her attempts at salvaging the relationship failed, forcing her to let go of the marriage.
“We went for dinner with friends and he told them he had three swimming pools at his house in Ghana when in reality he has a fish pond. I hated watching him lie and realised then it was never going to work,” she said.
“He begged me for another chance and said that he loved me. He bought flowers and tried to shower me with affection but it was too late.”
Beth is now waiting for her divorce, which has cost her £1,400 (Ksh195,000) so far, to be finalised.
Now she wants to warn other women not to be as naïve as she was.
“I was a silly old woman who fell for the Mills and Boons chat by a good-looking, younger man from Africa, but he just wanted me for my money. I’ve cried for a year over all this and put on four stone. Now I just need that divorce to come through and to get on with my life without him,” she said.
Rodney, who is living in Birmingham and claiming asylum, however, denies he married Beth for her money.
“I loved her. It wasn’t an act. I wanted to make it work. The money wasn’t for me, it was for businesses to make a future together. My visa was expiring on October 27 and she had slapped my face twice in the May.
“The Home Office wanted to know why I had left my house and I had to explain I had been the victim of domestic abuse. I spoke to the Citizen Advice Bureau and Immigration Aid who said they couldn’t help me if I hadn’t made a formal complaint to the police. I went to talk to the local police as part of the process, that was all.”