This is the story I never wanted to put into written words
Why am I doing this, you may ask?
I’ve spent sixteen years in what can only be described as exhaustive and soul-destroying damage control and handling of the situation with Andrew that has negatively impacted every facet of my and my family’s life. I have turned a blind eye to most to protect my sanity, limit its interference on my life and create a stable and happy future for myself and my boys, but it has nonetheless consumed me in the background as I’ve had to keep tabs on the behaviour so that I know my children are safe enough when they’ve had to see their father.
The catalyst to my finally speaking out was a recent lie regarding his inability to be here for his children on Father’s Day and then a few days later cancelling his agreed time to see the boys due to an extremely important trip to Melbourne where he was required to make 459 (yeah very accurate) people redundant from his company, Gerard Lighting. He was so stressed about this; that’s the approach he uses to make you feel like you can’t complain at him letting you down because obviously you have to recognise that what he is going through is hell! Upon calling bullshit here, in my usual fashion I googled and googled and there was nothing in regards to such a large loss of jobs which would most definitely have been in the media. I googled his name and his company and found “THE BLOG” and my world changed. Once again damage control and child protection instincts kicked in. Enough was ENOUGH.
I promised myself that I would face this head on from here. I will not live knowing this monster any longer, nor will I allow him to influence my amazing children a day longer.
In light of that, I want to help provide an insight to anyone out there that may be in a struggle to comprehend the aftermath of knowing him and potentially dealing with the violation of their personal rights. I hope this provides some answers or clarity to those who may be seeking them.
I did find this this incredibly hard to compile. I’ve left out SO much. Some of it is probably even important and relevant but I’ve learned to block a lot of this part of my life in order to move forward. I’m constantly reminded by friends of occasions that I’d forgotten about whilst we were together and which had clearly had left them in shock and disbelief.
I have known Andrew since 1999, and we began a relationship in March 2000 when he was 22. From the start it was very full on and we were inseparable. He had been living with a friend since he’d been broken up with his ex girlfriend but I don’t think he ever went back there since the day we met, other than to “move out” his belongings. I was shocked when he turned up to my place and I saw they were all contained in one cardboard box. No furniture, no household goods, nothing other than some clothes and couple of photos really. He had nothing other than that and his bomby car. He said he’d left it all with his ex as she had their son and needed it more.
Andrew had discussed a lot about his family, but I hadn’t met them due to his excommunication from their life and religion. He had told me part truths, along with some ridiculously big lies as it turns out. It seems as though he’s forever been obsessed with law and extravagance and name dropping. He told myself and my family that his mother was a QC in Sydney where he was born and raised (he was born in Launceston) and that the reason they had to relocate to Tasmania was due to her involvement in the infamous Ivan Milat case. This was according to Andrew, for their safety.
In these early days, Andrew also told us all he was suffering from a form of Cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and he had been receiving highly expensive and experimental treatment which was only new to Australia and his parents were supposedly funding this. Completely untrue. These are just a couple of examples to highlight the type of lies that are part of who he is, always has been and forever will be.
Within a month or two the lease to my 2 bedroom unit was up and we signed a lease on a new cottage in town. The day before we were due to move, I came home from work to find Andrew had left. I was distraught. I drove around in circles not knowing what to do. As I mentioned, I had never met his family, but I drove to the house he said they lived and was about to knock on the door. It didn’t seem right and his car wasn’t there so I left it. Turns out this elaborate house with a lift was never their house so I’m glad. For some reason I drove to City Park (weird, I never go there) and eventually found him. Even back then he was irresponsible with money. A month or so later his car was repossessed. He wouldn’t answer the finance company’s phone calls or letters so I made arrangements to return it. He had a terrible track record with finances and was bankrupt at this stage. I have always been pedantic about paying bills so I took control.
He was working casually at Telstra call centre at this stage and earning next to nothing so I was carrying most of the costs. I then started working for Westpac and loved it so encouraged him to apply there too as he needed to get his act together and work fulltime so we could afford to buy a house and get married, etc. He and I worked together at Westpac from 2000. We married in late 2001. On our wedding day, it was quite a running joke that Andrew stumbled on the vows…on the word, “f-f-f-f-faithful.” It wasn’t really a joke.
Andrew used to work as a bouncer occasionally and I would collect him from work at 2-3am when the pubs closed (we only had one car now). This type of security work excited him, and he then started telling me about one of the bouncers who owned a security business and who did private security work. He said he was asked to do some as well to which I agreed as it would be extra cash. He then used to disappear a lot and come home with elaborate stories of what he’d had to do. This would often involve being a security guard for prostitutes and following people. Sounded strange but I didn’t question it at the time.
Meanwhile, he would receive calls at times asking him to drive trucks for someone he used to know from when he worked at Gunns Timber. He would often disappear for the day driving a truck somewhere, often Georgetown where I now know he had another relationship going on. It seemed odd that he rarely came back with any pay from these and had to chase for it. I would become quite sus about it, but then some money would come so I let it go. I believe this money that turned up could have been as a result of gambling, or at least that was how he explained it off down the track.
I bought a house before we got married, as Andrew was bankrupt and unable to. Once he was discharged from bankruptcy, we refinanced the mortgage in his name too so that he could establish a credit rating again – clearly he’s taken off over the years and maxed himself to the hilt again.
I became pregnant with our first son in around March 2002, and Andrew was quite excited and attentive. Our 2nd son was on the way in around November 2003. It was during that 2nd pregnancy that the cracks became wide. He was absent – fully. He told me that through his security work he’d actually become part of the undercover police force. He would vanish nearly every night all night nearly, often coming home at 3-4am and never allow me to know where he was as it was “confidential due to the nature of the work”. I often questioned where the pay was for this work, and again was fobbed off with excuses. I even witnessed fake phone calls where he’d call the Commander of Police asking when his pay would be ready. He was holding down his Westpac Team Leader role during this time also.
In reading this you’re probably wondering why I let things go, even though I was suspicious? Now that I’m so far detached from this life I wonder the same thing. Firstly, the quick and detailed response when questioned is not what you’d expect from catching any normal person lying. There were none of the normal tell-tale ear pulling, weak stories, twitchy responses. I would know he was lying but I just couldn’t prove most of it. I did however, keep a diary of suspected lies in the hope that they would be exposed down the track and there would maybe be a good reason for the lie. Unfortunately, I no longer have this diary. Also, I guess part of me wanted to believe that my husband could not be so deceitful with such underhanded motives.
It was throughout this time that he started hiding his car behind our house so it couldn’t be seen from the street. His excuse was that it was necessary to prevent anyone he had been investigating from following him and seeing where he lived; it was for our safety. It turns out this was due to the fact that he’d been telling all his women “friends” that we had separated, he no longer lived there and that I had cheated on him/he’d caught me in bed with a woman/I had a new boyfriend, etc…whatever shocking, “feel sorry for me, she’s a bitch excuse” he could think of at the time. It was ridiculous: I was a housebound new mum!!
The night I went into labour with my 2nd son he wasn’t home. He turned up just after I’d had a couple of contractions about 11pm. He had been drinking, although maintained he’d been at the undercover headquarters. I later discovered he’d actually taken out his main other girlfriend to dinner.
When my 2nd son was around 8 months old, I went to Hobart to the sleep clinic for 8 days. When I returned home, I found a wedding photo had been moved into his bedside drawer, the one on the wall was crooked as if it had been removed and put back. It confused me and when I asked about it, I don’t even recall the answer but it was something regarding him cleaning. Sounded ridiculous but I couldn’t prove anything so let it slide. As it turned out, a woman he’d been seeing didn’t believe that he had moved out so whilst I was in hospital he invited her around after clearing out all his clothes to the shed and hiding everything that linked us as married so that she could see. She picked up on this as he made a point of taking her into our bedroom and showing her empty cupboards, but she noticed a couple of dropped coat hangers on the doorstep.
Andrew began to spiral out of control. At times he appeared to be quite psychotic. I recall late one night he came tearing home screaming at me to get the sleeping boys (newborn and toddler) out of their bedrooms, that we had to sleep in the lounge room as it wasn’t safe in the front of the house as dangerous people were following him and cars were going to crash through their bedrooms. That alarmed me. I refused to wake the boys and live in irrational fear. It was apparent he was under the influence of something that night.
It wasn’t at all unusual for Andrew to be under the influence of something. Whilst I never saw any illegal drug use personally, he had no problems in discussing this with others. He would regularly drink to excess, often vomiting. My mother once caught my eldest son who was perhaps 3 at the time, bent over a toilet making a loud noise. When asked what he was doing, my son replied, “vomiting like Daddy.” Andrew did have an addiction to prescription pain killers, under the guise of back/neck pain or headaches and he seemed to doctor shop to attain these. I’m aware he still does this.
During this “undercover” work he said his “partner” was xxxx. I knew her as she also worked at Westpac. He told elaborate stories of her and how she handled herself with a gun. I didn’t know her well so I didn’t feel like I could ask her about it. He would have me pack up the babies and drop him at her house so he could have drinks with her (imaginary) boyfriend. He had me drop him at the police station and various other places for work, and then she would come and collect him I guess. I occasionally received odd phone calls from people on the home phone looking for Andrew. I’d say he wasn’t home and they’d hang up.
At the same time, a couple of people from Westpac had asked if I was ok as they’d heard we had broken up but each time I questioned him over this he talked his way out of it. I can’t recall all the excuses and cover ups – there were so many. One night, a good friend of mine called again and said she’d heard we’d split and she was concerned. I’d had enough. I confronted him when he arrived home and pushed very hard until he started admitting part truths including a long term affair and a pregnancy (this ended in termination) – with his undercover partner. This was extremely overwhelming.
This is the point that I wanted to leave. He then proceeded to claim he had mental health issues, possibly bipolar and convinced me he felt remorse and regret and couldn’t live without me or his boys. He begged me to help. I felt obliged to help this man….my husband and father of my babies. So over the following few months we attended psychiatric appointments. My father and I both witnessed him lie to and manipulate professionals, and eventually he was given the diagnosis of bipolar he was aiming for in an attempt to validate his behaviour. Though I feel foolish, having given him the chance to get help and seeing that it is just another one of his games I am now much wiser to this part of his emotional manipulation. Saying he needs help is Andrew’s last resort, when all other ploys for empathy and sympathy, and all threats, have failed.
During this time, he was sacked from his role as a Team Leader with Westpac for sexual harassment. I wasn’t able to gain full details at the time, but later managed to attain some of the summary of allegations, which was rather humiliating. Without going into enormous detail, the allegations were from approximately six or seven members of his team who provided statements regarding his constant inappropriate sexual discussions, his absenteeism (particularly during weekend shifts when management was scarce) and subsequent return with suggestion he had fulfilled a need. He would also threaten anyone who suggested warning me of his infidelity.
Andrew then gained employment doing security patrolling of a shopping centre and security checks of buildings overnight which was meant to have him working until about 1-2am. This work was offered to him by a friend who owned a security company. He again started disappearing for entire nights, nearly every night. He was uncontactable. He would often say he’d gone straight to “undercover” from this job. So immediately after he finishing getting pyschiatric treatment he reverted straight back to his deceitful behaviour. Eventually, he lost this security job and it’s only come to light to me in the past few weeks that this was due to harassment (sending indecent photos to) of a minor who was working in one of the shops in the centre.
The lies got more constant…. trips to the shop for cigarettes as he’d lost his packet; the hardware store for the 3rd time that day because he’d forgotten a type of nail and he’d be gone for 4 hours; the out of hours court hearings that the Commander of Police had called our home phone and requested he attend. His lies were elaborate and he’d been seen in a phone box on many occasions as calls were obviously not trackable. He would explain in great detail how he was handcuffed on a flight to Melbourne to extradite a dangerous criminal, giving full information on names, crimes, appearance, mannerisms of the criminal…often. He would frequently be required to investigate and be involved in chasing criminals whilst performing surveillance of poppy fields.
I recall an incident where he came home distraught after being at a scene where someone had died and he recounted how they had fallen against a bar heater and effectively melted. If only I was less naïve and google was as useful back then and I was as proficient in my detective skills as I am today, I may have uncovered more extravagant rubbish.
Andrew then began working for a commercial cleaning chemical company – Johnson Diversey as a sales rep. He essentially sold and installed dispensers for detergents and chemicals in businesses, hospitals, supermarket delis, etc. On finding condoms in his wallet once, he had yet another elaborate story as having been provided them by work as a hygenic cover for his drill when installing dispensers as they caught the shavings and prevented contamination. (Yes you can laugh now, I didn’t believe it completely but this guy can convince someone they’re insane.)
He said he would fly out to oil rigs and would be out of contact for days as he had to install equipment on them. He often used to say he had to travel to Woolnorth for the same thing. He would use any remote location and the excuse that he would be uncontactable due to poor mobile coverage.
He would pilfer things from every employer and not just a pen or box of staples but huge quantities of commercial size washing power, cleaning chemicals and dispensers from one employer, giving them to friends and family and goodness knows where else. He had a corporate credit card and misused this, leading to his loss of employment with this company. I believe he was using it for personal travel, building materials to build a gazebo for a woman he was having an affair with, and excessive amounts of alcohol for “his customers” as thank you gifts.
Andrew had (and still has) a powerful knack of isolating you from feeling safe in talking to family and friends and I felt so ashamed and confused that I’d ended up in this situation. However, I was in a headspace at this point in our marriage where I was 99% sure I needed to get out and was trying to work out how on earth and when I was going to do this on my own. I was still on maternity leave from my job at Westpac at this point and whilst spending my days juggling mum duties and investigating Andrew, I discovered some emails from a secret account. I became aware that his “undercover partner” was again, pregnant. Whilst assessing my position with this new and shocking news over the next week I also discovered I was pregnant with our 3rd son. This changed my whole position and ability to escape. I had a lot to comprehend.
This period culminated in another trip to the psych and a change in medication, and a promise from Andrew that he intended to keep our family together whatever it took, and he agreed he would not acknowledge the other woman/child moving forward. He was particularly careful in limiting and/or hiding any contact over the period of time before our 3rd child was born in March 2006, but I later became aware he had attended the birth of the other daughter in the same hospital just weeks before showing his face in the same place for the delivery of our 3rd son. Disgusting, humiliating and shocking.
Johnson-Diversey moved us to Hobart in April 2007. I was all for a fresh start as I’d since felt pressure to resign from my role with Westpac due to the extreme humiliation and shame he’d caused. Whilst at this point I was starting to plan my escape again, I was agreeable to leaving Launceston for a fresh start and I perhaps held a glimmer of hope that maybe he was finally on some medication that was going to “fix” him.
In August 2007 it was my birthday and Andrew said he had to go overseas with Johnson-Diversey to Singapore for a week and couldn’t get out of it. He took cash advances from the credit card (which he knew I was dead against) as he said it wasn’t safe to use credit cards overseas. He then disappeared for a week, leaving me with the children (4, 3, 1) in a new city with no support network and making no contact. I spent the week trying to find information on his trip, whilst also setting myself up to escape. Eventually, I discovered flights to Brisbane with the woman he’d been having an affair and child with. When he returned and was confronted he adamantly refused to admit it, maintaining he’d only paid for her to fly to Brisbane for a holiday (in lieu of child support) and that he flew on to Singapore. He then went into elaborate detail as only Andrew can about the scenery, the weather, the hovercraft ride he went on from Singapore to Macau (yes I googled that and I know it’s ridiculous). He brought home a map of Macau, Pumpkin Patch winter clothes for the boys – AS IF they would sell those in Singapore – a pair of havianas for me and an ugly top. All of which I am sure were purchased at Brisbane airport.
Confronting Andrew achieves nothing, other than the two occasions I pushed and ended up with bruises. Not the bashing type, but the forceful grabbing, twisting of an arm and throwing against furniture type. These were seen by my family. He doesn’t like to be challenged and will lash out when he is. Andrew always resorts to threats and intimidation. He uses fear tactics to control. He has an uncanny knack of recalling any possible dirt he thinks will rattle you and will threaten to use it against you.
I was leaving. I was scared. Another one of his tactics was to isolate me from friends, who he always told me had been talking about me behind my back, and I had no family around. For the sake of my children I had to go and I’d financially planned around escaping so I was ready. Andrew then admitted himself into a psych clinic in a desperate attempt to control me and make me stay. I attended appointments with the psychiatrist and discussed my concerns regarding his actual diagnosis. I explained my research and belief that he was not bipolar but a sociopath with a plethora of high functioning personality disorders. He agreed. I asked what could be done to help someone like that and will always recall the answer, “Nothing really……other than therapy which may help a bit but essentially he will be as he is” I was then told in a very indirect and tactful way to flee from the relationship for the sake of my children and my own sanity/safety.
The months that followed were horrendous. He attempted to tell my family that I was bipolar and it was ME that had mental health problems. He tried his best to discredit me to my parents in an attempt to stop them believing what I was about to reveal. I still investigated because I was concerned about his contact with the children, and I saw things online that made me feel ill.
His womanising continued in a disgraceful way. It was becoming apparent that the number of women that he was now interacting with had magnified immensely. I was aware that he was seeing handfuls of women at the same time, telling them elaborate stories about his wealth, numerous assets (land, cars, boats, houses, pubs) . Now he was posing as a lawyer for Channel 7. It made me feel sick but I was free from him on a personal level so I had to choose not to care.
I was extremely uncomfortable with him having any custody of the boys as they were very young, but I allowed it initially thinking it would be in their best interests to see their father. I would then hear stories (both from my 5 year old and later the woman that briefly lived with him) that he was feeding them alcohol, taking various drugs, drink driving with them, not supervising them appropriately – ie he’d be hungover and wouldn’t get up in the morning other than to turn the TV on for the boys and go back to bed. This frightened me as my youngest was under 2, barely walking and there was a large staircase in his house. I also once discovered a gun behind his couch when I dropped off my children. My youngest went to pull it out and asked him what it was. He didn’t have a gun licence.
These issues led me to seek full custody. I collated information and went to see a lawyer. Andrew harassed me constantly and intimidated me so much I was living in fear. He would call my phone repeatedly, 20 times or more until I answered. He would send text after text making demands. He would go from begging and pleading to abusive name calling and threatening to fight me for the children. On several occasions when I turned my phone off and refused to answer, he turned up on my doorstep to continue. My then partner was also witness to this harassment and verbal abuse. I applied and was approved for an FVO to ensure he kept his distance from myself and the children in an emotionally or verbally abusive way. So since 2008 I have had sole parental responsibility for my boys and he only sees them at times agreed by both parties. As time went on and the children became less demanding (ie not in nappies) I relented and gave him more time: weekends, and one weeknight. However he would often cancel due to “work commitments”.
Mid 2008 he moved in with a girlfriend who became his new enabler, his base relationship to come back to. He needs this type of person and their financial stability and attention to maintain a façade, particularly one of being in a stable family environment. This woman has been there consistently throughout my boys’ lives for 8 years and is largely the reason I had allowed him the custody to the level he has enjoyed as he is unstable and untrustworthy on his own. During this 8 year period I have always been aware that he has continued his cheating and multiple relationships and living his delusions of grandeur lifestyles, putting her at risk financially, emotionally and physically. I have found it extremely hard to stand by and watch this happen, but until someone is ready to accept the truth of what Andrew is about there is little anyone can do. I have been approached on a number of occasions and relayed my information, but he has been able to talk his way out of things and convince her to stay with him every time.
Later in 2008 he continued to conduct several additional relationships. One in particular involved the children. He would take them to her (well known) family functions and parade them around acting as though he was a model parent. This woman and I have had numerous conversations since and I was made aware he had again claimed to have Cancer. This was particularly close to this woman given that she lost her mother to the illness. It’s abhorrent to think anyone could lie about having something so serious and sensitive to many people. He was also simultaneously conducting a very full on relationship in Adelaide with a woman, introducing her to work colleagues and discussing buying a house over there. I was disgusted he was displaying this brazen polygamous behaviour around impressionable young boys. After speaking with many women, Andrew was confronted and cornered and again played the, “yeah I’ve got a problem card” again.
I became aware of a Sydney girlfriend in perhaps 2013 when the children kept mentioning her name. Upon questioning him, he maintained she worked with him (his usual reason for knowing all his female “friends”) and that she had a husband (everyone does conveniently). Over the next 3 years my children would often debrief with me about this woman. He made them call her when he had them, sing happy birthday to her, talk to her kids. The boys would tell me they felt really weird about it, because it was never in front of the woman they knew as their father’s partner. What children should ever have to deal with such crap at such a young age!!!! The poor kids were often introduced to their dad’s “friends” over coffee dates or meetups in a park. Lying to adults is disgusting, but lying and deceiving your children like that is a whole other level!!
His absenteeism was also a constant theme in the boys’ lives. Weekends away, supposed work trips to Bali for conferences and functions on Hamilton Island, you name it….he was always away. And somehow, he managed to make us feel guilty for the boys feeling let down. His social media use has always been secretive and he’s only ever been linked to people in certain aspects of his life, none in reality. What father wouldn’t want to be his childrens’ first friend on Facebook?
And now I fast forward to the past few weeks. The behaviour was getting to the point where I was about to lose the plot. Every week there was a let down: he couldn’t see his boys on Father’s Day as he was away in Sydney for “work”. The following weekend it was that he was called to Melbourne in his capacity as a Tasmanian Regional Manager (hmm) to make 459 people redundant from his company, Gerard Lighting. Wow, big news and so traumatic for him. How could anyone possibly challenge him on letting his children down given he had to do something like this?! I knew it was lies, and I’d had enough as I was the one seeing the upset children again and again. And sure enough, after substantial research I could see no media reporting about massive job losses.
With some more googling of his name and his company I discovered Jo’s blog…and out came my answers and the release of the demons I’ve been supressing for years.
As it turns out, Andrew has been for the last 8 years (more if you count the affairs when I was married) living multiple lives, living in multiple relationships, juggling multiple everything!!! He had his Tasmanian relationship of 8 years in the background, he’d been seeing someone for 3 years in Sydney who he’d been burning thousands and thousands of dollars on and who he became engaged to in March 2016. All of this whilst online dating on Tinder and various other dating sites and frequenting sex workers several times a week, and seeking out goodness knows how many women on social media. Nearly everyone was under the impression he was a lawyer and worked for a TV station, and had a lot of famous name friends. Scarily enough, he’d managed to attain and suck in some big name friends. He can sell ice to the eskimos and he can sell you his story and you’ll believe it no matter how smart you are.
This cyclic behaviour has happened more times than I care to recall since I left. I managed to feign an amicable relationship with Andrew for sometime by turning a blind eye to his behaviours. It gets tiring being consumed by what he is up to, and you have to switch it off for your own sanity. I always tracked and saw the lies – particularly annoying was the insistence that he was a commercial lawyer – but until such point as they impact my children, I have chosen to ignore them and focus on my and my boys’ lives. It is now severely impacting their lives and I can no longer pretend it isn’t happening.
I cannot stress enough how much this man will make you believe anything, even though you have your mind in a headspace beforehand to not be sucked in by his elaborate, emotionally charged stories, and the tears and false emotions. To this day, he still has that creepy power over me so I feel for everyone out there who doesn’t know him like I do and fall for it every time. This man does not know how to feel empathy, nor does he feel genuine feelings of guilt or remorse for anything. I firmly believe this no matter how much he tries to convince you otherwise.
8 years after leaving this man, I have once again been financially affected by his irresponsibility. He had convinced me some 3 years ago to sell my car (which I fully owned) because it was ageing and needed some expensive mechanical work. He acknowledged that he’d destroyed me in the past and financially gained at my expense, and now he was in a financial position to put things right and help get me into a new car, so that his children were travelling in safety. I declined for some time, but foolishly I accepted thinking he was putting his children first, selling my car for cash and contributing this towards a new car – he was paying the difference. He told me that this was possible due to the extra money he’d been earning through his brothel ownership in Sydney and that it wasn’t really him paying for it but “pussy paying for my car.” so I shouldn’t feel bad. As it turns out, he had done this under finance over 5 years, and upon investigation I have discovered now that there is over $10000 remaining which I am now responsible for, or my car will be repossessed. Another kick in the guts.
I could honestly go on for days writing this but it has been more than draining on my self esteem and my family has suffered long enough from his ability to control my life and my thoughts. I need this to stop. I need him to stop. I simply want people to know that you cannot trust this man, you cannot save this man, you cannot allow yourself to accept a call from this man. I promise you, he will always manage to make you doubt everything you know as real and right. If I can ask you to do one thing after reading all of these, it’s PLEASE share your experience to expose the magnitude of people he has attempted to destroy. If you are confused then contact me, I will answer anything to help. My boys will no longer be seeing him, and I will fight with everything I’ve got to protect them from the emotional manipulation and damage that someone like him will cause.