56-year-old Paul Fitzpatrick thought he met the one when he was approached by 30-year-old Tunisian Mbarka. After they married, he came close to meeting his maker.
Fitzpatrick is an ex-army law clerk from Burnley, Lancs, who went on vacation to Sousse, Tunisia, last year, after retiring and getting a divorce.
He didn't just enjoy the amazing Tunisian beaches and landscape, he also met a woman that would change his life. According to The Sun
, he was approached by beautiful Mbarka, and they started what he thought was just a summer romance.
“She was very beautiful and we got on well. It was a holiday romance and it was fantastic,” Fitzpatrick said.
The Tunisian woman was 26 years his junior, and, when she called to say she missed him, he came running back to Tunisia. He flew back and forth 10 times until finally deciding to marry her. The couple would spend their honeymoon in the same place where they met.
The first day they arrived in Tunisia for their honeymoon, he was locked in his bedroom by members of the woman's family. He was threatened and apparently kept there for 10 days, before he could escape and seek assistance from the British Embassy.
The scammers reportedly threatened to cut off the man's fingers before taking his life.
“I was terrified. I really thought they were going to kill me, “ he confessed.
They took all his possessions – his cash, his laptop, even his clothes. When that wasn't enough, he was asked to wire his retirement fund and hand over credit cards and pin numbers. The man remained locked up until transfers went through.
“They said he would cut off all my fingers if I didn’t give them my money. [...] They were demanding cash and cards and telling me to phone the bank for more money. [...] They took all the money I had on me, my laptop and clothes. I was locked up until the money came through from England. I have nothing left,” he explained.
The woman that scammed him into marrying her and her family escaped with over $32,000 (€25,000).