Anna Rowe, 44, exchanged thousands of messages with the man calling himself ‘Antony Ray’ and the pair embarked upon a whirlwind romance. But his profile was fake and he used separate phones and social media accounts to hide his affairs. Miss Rowe, from Canterbury, is now calling for the Government to make posing as someone else online to forge a fake relationship known as catfishing – illegal.
The pair first met on Tinder in 2015. He told her he lived in London, had been divorced for 15 months and had three sons. He eventually visited her and they entered into what Miss Rowe thought was a serious relationship, even discussing marriage. The conman referred to Miss Rowe as ‘Mrs Ray’ and his ‘future wife’ although they only saw each other sporadically. He blamed this on travel for his job in aviation, and said he had to spend every weekend with his children.
But six months after they first met in person, he vanished, claiming he was taking care of his seriously ill mother. Suspicious, divorced mother of two Miss Rowe hired a private investigator. It emerged Mr Ray was actually a London legal executive who spent weekends with his wife and children in the north of England. He had a photo of Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan, who looked very similar to him, on his Tinder account, which he was still using.
Miss Rowe, who needed time off work and counselling to cope with the ordeal, said: ‘I didn’t know who this man who had been in my life for 14 months was. I’m not stupid by any means, but he had played me?.?his alias was a clever twist on his real name.’ She went to police but was told he had not broken the law, as he had not harassed her or asked for money. She has now launched a petition to make it illegal to pose as someone else online for sex.
Miss Rowe said: ‘What he did has almost destroyed me?...he used me like a hotel with benefits under the disguise of a romantic, loving relationship that he knew I craved. I did not or would not consent to have a sexual relationship with a married man, let alone a man who was actively having relations with multiple women simultaneously.’
She added: ‘This is not a revenge story; I actually feel sorry for him. But it isn’t just him that does this. The legislation is not keeping up with the speed of technology.’
© Daily Mail