A former soldier who lived a double life could be jailed for up to seven years after  he admitted marrying a woman while already wed.

Jason Hayter, 48, was caught out when his daughter from the later marriage messaged his earlier wife on Facebook wanting to know what her connection was to her father. 

Norwich Magistrates' Court was told Sara Hayter, who he married at a Norfolk wedding ceremony in April 2016, then contacted police after learning he had never been divorced from Tracey Larkcombe, who he wed in 2010.

Prosecutor Sally Harris said he had met both women on dating websites in 2008 and 2010, shortly before being posted to Germany with the army.

He married Mrs Larkcombe in 2010 when she was pregnant with their first child. They later had a second child together, in 2015.

After getting married, he took his wife's surname, becoming Jason Larkcombe.

However his complicated love life saw him simultaneously exchanging messages and visits with Mrs Hayter. They had their first child in 2014.

Following their marriage ceremony in 2016 they also had twins in 2018 before his previous marriage came to light. 

Appearing in court in a wheelchair, Hayter, of Kirby Cross near Frinton-on-Sea in Essex, pleaded guilty to bigamy. 

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Magistrates were told the offence carries a maximum sentence of seven years but that its rarity meant there are no sentencing guidelines.

Mrs Harris said the impact on Hayter’s two families had been “very significant” and had been aggravated by it continuing over a long period with an overlap in the relationships and that five children were involved.

“No effort was made to rectify the situation even when a divorce was asked for,” she added.

The court heard statements from his two wives, both of whom described Hayter going missing for lengthy periods often explained by the state of his mental health.  

Eastern Daily Press: Magistrates told Jason Hayter all sentencing options including prison were open Magistrates told Jason Hayter all sentencing options including prison were open (Image: Newsquest)

Mrs Larkcombe said while stationed in Germany with the army he was "always going backwards and forwards to the UK for training. I never thought anything was wrong". 

"Him being away was normal for us," she added.

But after one disappearance he had sent her a text message saying “I don’t love you anymore I’m gay”.

She said she had been left to deal with debt collectors after he left permanently. 

“He walked out on me and the children. He has never sent a birthday card and never asked about the children. We have had nothing from him," she said.  

"I was shocked to learn that he had married again and had three other children.”

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Mrs Hayter said he would explain absences as being due to his training as a paramedic for London Ambulance Service.

“We would always make plans together and at no point during this time did I suspect he had other families,” she said.

She added: “I don’t want anything more to do with him. I did not see this coming. He has manipulated me.

“I believe everything he has said to me is a lie. I don’t think he knows the truth anymore.” 

Charles Judge, mitigating, said he had been in the armed forces for 24 years serving in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq and had since been diagnosed with PTSD and suffered a stroke last year.

He said his marriage in 2016 had been at a time when the 2010 marriage had broken down.

“This is not a case where any false documents have been produced to allow the second marriage,” he added.

Committing the case to be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court next month magistrates said it was a “very complicated case that has affected a lot of people”. 

Hayter had already married and divorced before he met his second and third wives.