Looking back at 'Lancashire's Love Cheats: 'My charming toyboy was a cheat and a thief':
TONI Chippendale fell for a younger man on a Caribbean holiday and married him.
With its sun-kissed beaches and tropical scenery, Toni Chippendale considers Barbados a true slice of paradise.
But it was in Barbados she met and married a man she thought was the love of her life who turned out to be a cheat who she claims stole her money and dead mum’s jewellery.
Toni, who has a son aged 30 and daughter of 28, first visited the Caribbean island after her 17-year marriage ended when she realised she no longer loved her husband.
Barbados became Toni’s holiday destination of choice and, for the past 16 years, she has visited at least twice a year.
Toni, 54 at the time she shared her story, of Ingol, Preston, a self-employed home care manager, explained: “Barbados is a beautiful island and so peaceful and calm. I’d rather go there than anywhere in the world.”
But tragedy struck in December 2006 when Toni was in Barbados and she was told her mum Teresa Avelena, 81, had died.
Toni said: “My mum had been in hospital with pneumonia days before we flew out.
“I wanted to cancel the holiday, but the day before we were due to go, my mum looked really well and the hospital said they would send her home the following day.
“My parents insisted we still go on holiday.
“Days later, my dad rang to say my mum had passed away.”
A distraught Toni frantically tried to arrange flights home but could only secure one for a few days later.
Hours after the shock news, Toni met Danny and their first encounter was far from romantic.
Smiling wryly, Toni recalled: “I had booked a glass-bottomed boat ride for my children to take their mind off their grandma’s death. I planned to reminisce with my friend about my mum.
“I didn’t know Danny worked on the glass-bottomed boat, but about an hour before the trip, he came and asked my daughter how much we had paid.
“He explained he thought we had been overcharged, but I knew we hadn’t.
“I was upset about my mum and wasn’t in the mood, so told him to go.
“He went, muttering under his breath.”
Toni’s daughter returned from the trip saying how nice Danny had been on the boat and how she had told him about her grandma’s death.
A few hours later, Danny found Toni, apologised and told her how sorry he was about her mum.
Toni said: “When he smiled, his whole face changed. He had beautiful white teeth and was really good looking.
“The following day, he asked me out for a drink to say sorry, so I agreed.
“He was really attentive and listened to me talk about my mum and we walked on the beach.
“Nothing happened romantically. I thought he was just a nice lad apologising.”
Toni returned to Preston and her mum was buried in December 2006. The following January, to make up for their earlier holiday being curtailed, Toni re-booked a Barbados trip.
She met Danny once again and got to know him, although everything remained platonic.
Danny asked Toni when she was returning to Barbados. She told him she was coming for her birthday in April. She told him her birthday was April 30 and he revealed his was April 29.
It was during the April holiday their friendship blossomed into romance.
Toni remembered: “I went out on the Saturday night, which was Danny’s birthday, and he was out too and asked for a birthday kiss.
“I gave him a peck on the cheek.
“At midnight, he told me it was now my birthday.
“I jokingly said: Do I get a kiss too?’
“He kissed me and it was a proper kiss. I felt all tingly and like a teenager.
“I had never been kissed like that before.
“I started looking at Danny in a different light and considering him as boyfriend material.
“We spent the remainder of the holiday together and I let him stay over, although nothing happened - we just cuddled.
“He was very romantic and would spell out I love you’ on my bed with rose petals.
“When I returned to Preston, we spoke everyday by phone, text and Facebook. Then I booked another holiday to Barbados and booked a hotel for us both.
“That’s when it became a proper physical relationship. Danny was a great lover - passionate, kind and considerate.”
A few months later, Danny surprised Toni by calling her to say he was in the UK. He ended up living with her for four months.
Toni said: “It was wonderful. We got on really well.
“One night, just before Danny was due to fly back, he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him.
“After splitting from my husband, I always swore I wouldn’t marry again.
“Since my divorce, I had two long-term relationships where they proposed, but I said no. But Danny was different. Until I met him, I didn’t realise what real love was.
“He loved me with such intensity and was so protective and publicly affectionate. I told him I would think about his proposal.”
It was after the proposal that Toni says she started seeing money go missing.
She left £300 in a drawer ready to pay the deposit for her next Barbados holiday, but it disappeared.
Her children and Danny denied knowledge of it.
Toni then went to the cash point and discovered her bank card missing. After ringing the bank, she learned £300 had been withdrawn that morning.
She returned home to find the missing £300 back in her drawer.
She said she confronted Danny who began crying and confessed he had taken it to buy her an engagement ring and then taken her bank card to replace the missing cash.
Toni said: “He told me he had every intention of paying me back. I forgave him as I thought his intentions were good.”
Toni returned to Barbados in December 2007 and accepted Danny’s proposal.
She flew to St Vincent’s to meet his family.
It was only then Toni became aware of Danny’s age. She had presumed he was in his 30s, but discovered he was 25.
“At first I was shocked, but then I thought if you love someone, age shouldn’t matter.
“I have always attracted younger men. It’s not that I go for them, they always seem to come to me.”
The £20,000 wedding took place in Barbados in May 2008 on the beach of one of the best hotels.
There were 150 guests including 16 from the UK and Toni’s brother from South Africa.
Toni said: “It was a beautiful wedding and everything went perfectly.”
Toni and Danny applied for a marriage visa and work permit which Toni paid £3,500 for. They decided Toni should return home and Danny would join her once the visas were sorted.
Danny eventually joined Toni in August 2008 and they settled into a happy married life.
Toni said: “Danny signed up with a few agencies looking for work but didn’t really get any.
“I funded everything, but didn’t mind as he was my husband.
“He was a bit of a gambler, but whenever he had a win, he was very generous.”
It was during the second year with Danny that Toni’s suspicions were aroused.
He began disappearing and was seen by one of Toni’s friends getting out of a woman’s car.
Toni confronted him, Danny angrily denied it and there was a huge row.
Toni remembered: “I was in the garden when Danny came and asked me what he had to do to prove he wasn’t cheating.”
Despite the heated argument, two months later Toni took Danny back.
She explained: “He swore he loved me.”
For several months, the relationship regained happiness.
But Toni began suspecting Danny was being unfaithful and confronted a woman who admitted she and Danny were sleeping together.
Toni said: “The woman said Danny had told her our marriage was over and that we lived totally separate lives and weren’t physical. This was a complete lie.
“I phoned Danny and told him he had two hours to pack his bags and get out.”
Toni returned home to find Danny in tears.
She agreed to let him stay the night in the spare room but to go first thing the next day.
The next morning, Danny asked Toni for £30 and her son gave him £30 to get rid of him.
Toni claimed Danny initially sent her abuse, but then began messaging her on Facebook, saying he missed her.
“He was a Jekyll and Hyde character.
“He was a charmer, but I knew I wouldn’t take him back.
“I still loved him. A love like that is hard to die off.
“But I didn’t like him.”
A week after Danny left, Toni’s daughter discovered jewellery belonging to her grandmother worth around £6,000 had disappeared.
Toni said: “My mother had left me quite a lot of jewellery.
“It was of great sentimental value.
“I had hidden mine away, but given many items to my daughter which she kept in her jewellery box.
“Because Danny was living here at the time, the insurance classed it as an inside job and we couldn’t claim.”
A few weeks after she threw him out, Danny sent Toni long emails saying he still loved her.
She told him if this was true, he should hand himself into the police for stealing the jewellery.
She claimed Danny agreed and asked Toni if she would wait for him if he got sent down.
She said: “I lied and agreed. But I had no intention of taking him back.”
Toni rang the police to tell them she was bringing Danny in for a jewellery theft.
She said the police asked if Danny was an illegal immigrant and Toni told them no, but they might want to check his visa as it may have run out.
Toni recalled: “Danny gave me a few trinkets which were all he had left of my mum’s jewellery.
“He willingly went to the police station with me as I think he thought it would prove his love and hoped I would take him back.”
But after it was discovered Danny had overstayed his visa, he was deported back to Barbados.
Toni travelled subsequently to Barbados and saw Danny, but says she will never take him back.
She wants a divorce - but insists Danny should pay.
“I paid for the wedding, the visas, sent Danny money in Barbados and picked up the tab for everything while he lived here rent free for two-and-a-half years.
“I paid to marry him, so he can pay to divorce me.
“The marriage is well and truly over.
“I never want him back.
“I don’t regret marrying him as I had some wonderful years.
“It was only the last year that was hell.
“I have friends who married men from Barbados who are still happily married. I think I just got a bad apple.
“Since Danny, I haven’t been able to trust anyone and am more cynical.
“But he has not ruined my life, as I am happy and have been in a new relationship for about a year.
“I want to warn other women not to fall for a charmer and to walk away as soon as it goes wrong.”
WHAT DANNY SAYS:
WE spoke to Danny Benn in Barbados about what Toni had to say.
Although he declined to answer the allegations about cheating on her and stealing her jewellery, this is what he said: “I want Toni to leave me alone. I have got nothing to say about what she is saying about me.
“We have not been together for four years now. She should live her life and let me live mine.
“I just need to get this woman to leave me alone. It is in the past and I have forgotten all about Toni.
“I am living my life and I have a two-year-old son who is my life and I am happy.
“I wish Toni nothing but the best but I just want her to leave me alone. She needs to get on with her own life and let me live mine.
“I do not want to stoop to Toni’s level so have nothing more to say.”