This Article Was First Published by the Daily Mail UK
A lonely gran who claims she was conned out of £18,000 by her Ghanaian toyboy lover and accused of BEATING him has warned other woman not to be as naive as she was.
Former probation officer Beth Haining fell for Rodney Cudjoe, a Ghanaian musician 30 years her junior.
‘I’ve been a stupid old woman who should know better,’ said 68-year-old Beth, of Redditch in Worcestershire.
‘I used to laugh at women who fall for these good-looking toy boys from abroad and think how gullible they are. Now I’m one of them.’
Gran-of-four Beth met hunky 6ft 1ins Rodney, now 39, after the pair chatted online in December 2014.
She flew to Accra the capital of Ghana, where he seduced her and proposed to her in front of his friends.
Beth went ahead with the wedding even though her children back home begged her not to.
But after paying for a spouse visa and lavishing £18,000 of her savings on her new groom and his business ventures, she claimed the gentle, attentive man she’d fallen in love with became sulky, moody and cold.
He moaned about the food, the freezing British winters and accused Beth of treating him like a slave when she asked him to paint her living room blue.
Eventually after rowing non-stop, Beth refused to renew his visa and gave him the money to fly home along with the taxi fare to the airport.
Instead, he stayed in the country and falsely accused the 5ft 5ins granny of beating him so badly she split his lip – meaning she had to be quizzed by police after they turned up on her doorstep.
She wasn’t charged with assault and is now divorcing Rodney for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage after complaining to the Home Office that he won’t go back to Ghana. They curtailed his leave to stay in the UK.
‘He told me I was beautiful and that he loved me, but he lied to me and used me,’ said Beth.
‘I had just sold my house when we met and had some savings.
‘I fell for him and thought he was genuine. I thought this was my dream romance coming true and I lavished him with attention and gifts.
‘I paid for everything, and we spoke about starting businesses together as I wanted us to be happy.
‘We had the most amazing time in Ghana, it was magical. He couldn’t do enough for me.
‘We had sex in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening – it was at least three times a day every day.
‘But Rodney changed as soon as he came to Britain. He spent more time sleeping on the sofa than he did in my bed.
‘He would argue and shout about everything – the food, the cold and having to find work.
‘He got a job in a packing factory as I said I didn’t have enough money to pay for everything. But he said: ‘How can you be broke when you’re British?’
‘He thought this was the land of milk and honey.
‘It was a rude awakening when he saw the reality of British life and living with me. He was a completely different person – he was either shouting or sulking for days at a time.
‘My two children and friends didn’t like him and when they came round he would go into another room. I thought it was a culture shock and he would adapt.
‘I wanted to make it work but eventually I realised it was all a lie.’
When their relationship broke down, Beth and Rodney agreed he would return to Ghana as his visa was up for renewal.
‘I gave him the airfare and the money for the taxi but he took the key from the front door and didn’t leave,’ said Beth.
‘I had to change the locks and then two police officers came to the door saying that he had accused me of assaulting him. I never thought he would try and get me arrested.
‘I’m half his size, twice his age and have never hit anyone. It was ridiculous but they asked me to give a statement and so I ended up being quizzed for an hour in the local police station.
‘I was petrified, but luckily I had a solicitor and the police released me with no further action taken. I couldn’t believe the man I loved and who I’d brought over here so we could be together could accuse me of that.
‘The solicitor even recognised me because he’d read my reports when I was a probation officer. It was so embarrassing and I knew then I had to divorce Rodney.’
Beth first fell for music producer Rodney after they met online in December 2014.
She said: ‘I was a bit lonely as my sister Gaynor had died a couple of years earlier and my mum Barbara had been diagnosed with dementia but he was very friendly and chatty. We got on well.’
Soon the pair were messaging and then talking to each other every day.
‘I thought we were friends, but he started saying I had nice hair and he couldn’t wait to touch it,’ she said.
‘We’d seen pictures of each other and there was a huge age difference so I didn’t realise he was flirting at first. I liked him and after a few months he asked if he could borrow some money as he was waiting for a cheque to come through.
‘It was just £200 so I did, and he promised to pay me back. Then he needed some money for some studio equipment and to put on some shows where we would share the profits and I sent him another £2,000.
‘We began talking about meeting up. I’d been to Ghana before as I raised funds for and been a volunteer at orphanages over there and he asked me to visit him.’
She jetted out to meet Rodney in August 2015 – and he literally swept off her feet at the airport.
‘He picked me up and gave me a peck on the cheek, but in the car, he gave me a full-on kiss which gave me butterflies,’ Beth said.
‘I realised then we weren’t just going to be friends and that night we had sex.
‘We spent all our time together, eating out and drinking, meeting all his friends. He always had his arm around me and was kissing me. He couldn’t do enough for me.’
Rodney even asked Beth to marry him four or five times but she refused, saying they didn’t know each other well enough.
A week before she was due to fly home they went to a club – and he stood on the stage and proposed.
‘He said he wanted to spend his life with me and had arranged a surprise wedding for five days later on 7 October, 2015, the day before I was due to fly home.
‘All his friends were there and they were clapping and cheering. I didn’t feel like I could say no,’ Beth says.
‘I loved him but I thought it was too soon to get married.
‘I called my children who told me not to do it. They said he was too young and I didn’t know him, but I thought it was love.’
The next day she bought a green wedding dress, the rings and asked her neighbour to send over her divorce papers from her first marriage, which had ended in the 1970s.
‘It was when we handed in our papers that I realised Rodney’s real age. He had told me he was 40 but when I saw his date of birth I realised he’d lied and really he was 30.
‘I was a bit shocked but it was too late by then.
Beth flew home the next day and paid a lawyer £3,000 to arrange for Rodney’s visa.
It was granted in February 2017 – and he flew over to live in the three-bedroom former council house that she was eventually left by her mother.
‘My mum gave me half when she died and left the other half to her husband’s children in trust though I can live here for the rest of my life,’ Beth explained.
‘I was excited to see Rodney but he was a completely different person. He didn’t stop moaning and nothing I did was good enough.
‘I had a pension but also ran workshops for people with depression and anxiety, but I wanted him to work and he got a job in a packing factory.
‘He sent all the money back to Ghana to buy equipment for a music studio so I paid all the bills in Britain.’
Beth found her husband cold and distant – and they only had sex once that year. ‘He wanted kids and I said I obviously couldn’t have them and he then said there was no point in having sex.
‘He began criticising me, saying he didn’t like my cooking and wanted to cook his own food, like yams, plantains and rice.
‘He also said I was treating him like a slave as I asked him to do things round the house. I told him ‘that’s just being a husband’ but he didn’t like it.
‘He thought I should do everything as I was his wife. One time I asked him to clean up his mess and he slammed a knife down so hard on the kitchen worktop that he damaged it. I was a bit scared.’
Beth said she tried to make the marriage work but that after continuously rowing she decided to finish their relationship.
‘We went for dinner with friends and he told them he had three swimming pools at his house in Ghana when in reality he has a fish pond. I hated watching him lie and realised then it was never going to work,’ she said.
‘He begged me for another chance and said that he loved me. He bought flowers and tried to shower me with affection but it was too late.’
Eventually Rodney agreed to go home but Beth says she saw the front door key was missing. After getting the locks changed she thought that was the end of her marriage nightmare.
But she was shocked when the police arrived to question her saying that Rodney had claimed she’d attacked him twice, punching him in the face and busting open his lip.
After making a statement at the local police station she began divorce proceedings.
She also told the Home Office she was divorcing Rodney as she didn’t want to be involved with a man who could lie to the police I had attacked him.’
She is now waiting for her divorce, which has cost her £1,400 so far, to be finalised and has already changed her name back to Haining.
Now she wants to warn other women not to be as naïve as she was.
‘I keep asking myself how could I have been so stupid as to be taken in by him,’ she said. ‘I thought it could never happen to me. My job for years was doing risk assessments with criminals and so I thought I could never be duped by a man.
‘But I fell for it all, and realise it was all lie. I was a silly old woman who fell for the Mills and Boons chat by a good-looking, younger man from Africa, but he just wanted me for my money.
‘I’ve cried for a year over all this and put on four stone. Now I just need that divorce to come through and to get on with my life without him.’
Beth has now co-authored a book about her experiences, called The girls Who Refused To Quit.
Rodney, who is living in Birmingham and claiming asylum said: ‘I loved her. It wasn’t an act. I wanted to make it work. The money wasn’t for me, it was for businesses to make a future together. My visa was expiring on October 27 and she had slapped my face twice in the May.
‘The Home Office wanted to know why I had left my house and I had to explain I had been the victim of domestic abuse. I spoke to the Citizen Advice Bureau and Immigration Aid who said they couldn’t help me if I hadn’t made a formal complaint to the police. I went to talk to the local police as part of the process, that was all.’