BACK STORY 1940
It is difficult to fathom that the innocuouslooking Darlington Reddie ( pictured) was a serial lothario. Reddie met his waterloo when he married Brisbane teacher Florence Robinson in October 1940 under the name Warren Malcolm McLauren, after placing the following newspaper advertisement in August: “Gentleman, 38, comfortable circumstances, going [on] extensive tour, car, boat, business, pleasure, wishes meet presentable lady to 34 as companion; [view to] matrimony”.
Reddie must have cut a convincing figure, spinning yarns about his vast wealth, owning various mines in Australia and overseas. The couple decided to marry and planned an extensive honeymoon. On the day before the wedding, Reddie asked his intended for a loan of £50 as expected monies had not materialised. Eleven days after the wedding, Reddie left Florence in Brisbane while he feigned a business trip to Sydney; at which point he abandoned his unsuspecting new wife. When he failed to reappear, Florence contacted the police, reporting her husband as missing.
When police began investigating Reddie’s movements, his bigamy came to light. It was revealed he already had a wife in Toowoomba, Lilian, whom he married in 1938, and it was to Toowoomba, and not Sydney, he had gone. An investigation also revealed he had been married four times: first widowed, then divorced, before his legal marriage to Lilian, and bigamous marriage to Florence. Reddie was arrested and pleaded guilty to bigamy and theft. He was convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. The following year, Reddie’s legal wife, Lilian, successfully filed for divorce.
Reddie reappeared in 1952, once again in court for bigamy, this time under the name Ralston. It turned out he had remarried 20 days before his divorce to Lilian had been finalised.