61-year-old Diane Peebles from Edinburgh, Scotland, was lucky to escape Sri Lanka alive after armed men turned up looking for her at the hotel she was staying in just before flying back to Scotland. We published the story in November 2018.
Peebles, who was left penniless, said she spent her entire life savings on Priyanjana De Zoysa, who was 33 years her junior after meeting him on holiday when she was 53 and he was just 20.
According to the Daily Record, Diane whose marriage to Priyanja was her first, is now trying to get her assets returned to her with the help of a Scottish lawyer after spending her life savings to buy a house for him in Sri Lanka then discovering he was also married to an 18-year-old local girl.
At the time she was told it was difficult for a foreigner to own a house in Sri Lanka, so she naively put the property in her husband’s name after selling her £105,000 UK flat.
Diane Peebles said she used the money to build Priyanjana a three-bedroom home in Sri Lanka and also spent £31,000 on a Toyota Hiace for Priyanjana to use as a taxi.
She also bought furniture and gifts for his family and paid for most of their food and fuel while she lived next door to them in a love scam that she has now gotten over.
She said: “My two brothers-in-law and their wives and children are living in my home now rent-free. They don’t deserve to live there.
“That house was built on the work I put into my career over many years and I have nothing to show for it. That can’t be right.”
Diane added: “I know it’s complicated but bank records will show my money paid for the house and many other things.
“I went from being comfortable to having nothing, so even if I could claim back half of what I spent on his family, it would make a massive difference to my retirement.”
She was on holiday in Sri Lanka around eight years ago when young hotel worker and tuk tuk driver Priyanjana caught her eye.
“I thought he was a very nice young man and he was very polite,” says Diane.
“He asked me for my mobile number and then he asked me for my address and I didn’t think anything of it’
“When I got back home he tried to call me, but his English wasn’t that good,” she says.
“He wrote me a few letters and from January 2012 we were texting each other and then had a conversation on the phone and he mentioned marriage, and I was a bit taken aback.”
A few months later, Diane returned to Sri Lanka to see her toyboy.
He was delighted to see her and kept saying “tomorrow engagement”, with Diane thinking they needed to register their intent to marry at the registrar’s office because she was from the UK, not knowing she was going to take part in her own wedding ceremony at the office.
“She started reciting, ‘Do you take…,'” Diane recalls.
“I was kind of shocked at first, but he was urging me to go ahead and just say it.”
The pair were married, with Diane insisting her new husband was “attentive, romantic and loving” to begin with.
After selling her house for £105,000 she took an early retirement from her customer services assistant job with Edinburgh City Council so they could start building a home together.
But when Diane eventually joined him in Sri Lanka everything fell apart.
After wedding him in Sri Lanka in 2012, she bought a fridge-freezer for his family and a water purifier, and it soon became the norm for her to fund his family till she became broke and started depending only on her £363-a-month pension.
After a while her husband stopped loving her.
“He spent more time at his mum’s than he did with me,” she said. “Or he’d go out with his friends at night and not come home.
“It just wasn’t working out. We spent a lot of time arguing about money. I realised it was a sham.”
In 2016, she found a Valentine’s Day card to him which said “to my husband”, which he claimed was a prank from a friend.
She later discovered he had married a local woman, who she previously met when she popped over for a cup of tea, in the time he had been married to her.
In 2017, Priyanjana was shot dead by thugs Diane believes were trying to extort him for cash after they became jealous of the money she gave him.
Diane told This Morning: “All my friends and family told me not to go over.
“But I thought he loved me, and I loved him. You do silly things when you’re in love.”
“I feel sad I gave up my life,” she said.
She has now warned other women about the dangers of getting into a similar situation, adding: “Don’t get involved with the locals, because they’re all very poor.
“A lot of them are looking to marry European women, because they think we’re all very rich. I wasn’t very rich – but in their eyes, I was rich.”
Diane who was left broke, was so lucky to escape Sri Lanka and found herself back to Scotland November 2018. Read our earlier story in 2018 about her through this link