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'How I discovered cheat boyfriend's three-year double life - and worked with his other lover to expose him' (9 Pics)

Zara Whelan is pictured with 'love rat' Jay Doherty

Swapping messages with Jay Doherty, Zara Whelan knew she had to meet him.
A police officer with a biomedical sciences degree, he had been charming, attentive and sweet since they had first made contact via a phone app.
And within weeks of meeting face-to-face, they were a couple . They spoke for hours on the phone, wore matching pyjamas and bought Christmas decorations together.
Jay even sent Zara a photo of himself wearing his police uniform - something she considered a big deal because he "hated the way he looked" in the gear.
She spent the next three years thinking they were in love and planning a happy future together. But the truth, she later discovered, was horrendous.
Jay was actually leading a secret double life , she claims - he had been in a relationship with another woman for six years and lived with her.
Shockingly, he had also allegedly lied about being a policeman - the picture of him 'in uniform' had been photoshopped before being sent to Zara.
This picture of Jay 'in police uniform' was found to have been Photoshopped

The young woman says she discovered the horrifying extent of her boyfriend's lies after the 'other woman' contacted her via Instagram in October 2015.
The pair spoke, recalling how Jay had "jumbled" them up in conversations, before agreeing to unexpectedly confront the 'love rat' together.
Incredibly, after the dramatic encounter, they then formed an unusual friendship, helping each other to "pick up the pieces" of their relationships.
The brave women have spoken out about their ordeals - which could be a plot from hit the BBC1 drama Doctor Foster - in the Daily Post . They want to warn others of the psychological and emotional consequences of such experiences.
They say they were both led to believe that Jay was their long-term partner and soulmate - but, in reality, he was deceiving them with lies and broken promises.

The first meetings...

The second woman, who goes by the pseudonym Helen Simpson, was the first of the pair to meet Jay after he commented on one of her Facebook photos.
"I first met Jay on Facebook in 2009. I don’t remember adding him to my friends but he commented on a photo I’d posted from a Uni night out," Helen recalled.
"We had a friend in common so put it down to having met years before. It was just before the summer holidays and I was due to return to home.
"We spoke increasingly via messages and texts, to the point that by the end of the holidays we were speaking several times a day.
"He was charming and complimenting. He felt very sincere and sweet-natured, it was refreshing to find someone who seemed so interested in me as a person.
"We arranged to meet up that August."
She continued: "For the first three years of our relationship, he worked part-time and later in a call centre for the council.
"We spoke on the phone at least twice a day, sometimes for over an hour, he would always bring me flowers or a gift when we met.
"Everything seemed alright, we were happy together.
"We supported each other through job/uni struggles , we felt very much in love.I was open from the beginning about the fact we were only in our early 20s and if it ever felt like it wasn’t working we could talk about it.
"We went through a period of finding it harder in my final year of Uni as studies intensified and I couldn’t set aside every weekend for him.
"We grew apart, my confidence in myself had grown a lot over the previous two years and I was more independent, pushing myself to do new things."
It was three years after Helen and Jay first spoke that Zara met her future boyfriend.
"It was 2012. I downloaded an app to meet new people, when I received a simple ‘Hi’ from Jay I almost didn’t reply," said Zara, a writer for the Daily Post.
"He lived in Birmingham, I in Stockport. But that introduction led to an intense exchange of messages. He was charming, attentive and although not my type, was sweet. He said he had a Biomedical Sciences degree and was a police officer.
"He was smart; could be trusted; or, at least, would be DBS checked.
"I knew we had to meet. I’d never “met” a man so sensitive. In November he came to see me for the first time. I remember having reservations, taken aback at his nervousness in contrast to his confident messages.
"I struggled to keep the conversation flowing. After we parted ways, I was certain we’d not meet again. I chalked it up to experience."
After meeting face-to-face, the pair had "fewer calls". But then one night, Zara says she received a message from Jay claiming he had been assaulted while on duty.
"I received a message saying he had been rushed to hospital with a ruptured spleen after being assaulted on duty," she said.
"I felt guilty, I wasn’t there with him. He explained he was with his sergeant and would be going home alone. That night I kept him company via text.
Zara claims her boyfriend was in a relationship with another woman - and even shared a pet hamster with her

"He asked if he could see me again. I agreed. I felt, I’d been too harsh.
"Soon afterwards, we were a couple.
"We bought Christmas decorations together and later at home in our matching pyjamas he said he was my boyfriend - it was intense, fitting in visits between shifts. Within two weeks of meeting he said he loved me. We’d spend hours talking on the phone and he always brought flowers when visiting. He even sent a photo of himself in uniform - a big deal since he hated the way he looked in the gear."
She added: "I worried about his travelling, given such a demanding role. But it made sense, I had my own place; he a single bed in a shared house."

The early warning signs...

By this point, things in Helen's relationship "didn't feel as right as they had".
She described how although Jay visited her at weekends, he would regularly turn up late, sometimes by a day.
"I tried talking with him when things didn’t feel as right as they had. I wanted to make sure neither of us felt trapped in an unhappy relationship," she said.
"He denied his feelings had changed, so we continued."
She added: "In July 2012 I graduated and Jay decided to go for a Science degree at university that September. I hoped with us both living in the same city once more, our relationship would develop. However, once he started Uni, I saw him less.
"He joined societies such as sky diving and archery which I thought was great.
"But it meant he was away for prolonged weekends, as the sky diving was on an old army base in Leicestershire where there was little phone signal.
"I barely heard from him."
Helen said Jay began "revision sessions" at the home of a classmate. Then, after a month or so, he apparently began babysitting for his kids.
Jay allegedly claimed his pal and his wife were "having marital problems" and he had offered to babysit occasionally "to allow them a Saturday night out".
"He became attached to the children and was going to “babysit” at least once or more a month," said Helen, adding that the pal's wife was referred to as 'Zara'.
Meanwhile, Zara was having her own concerns. He had not accepted a Facebook friend request and she was yet to meet anyone in his life.
"A Facebook friend request remained unanswered," recalled the writer.
"He later explained he’d opened an account but didn’t use it, in part because of his job. I let it pass but a friend was suspicious. Googling his name, we saw that he’d in fact dropped out of Birmingham University and didn’t have a degree.
"I called him to ask him and after initial denial, he admitted he’d lied because he was embarrassed and wanted to impress me, that he didn’t think I’d be interested if he didn’t have a university education. I introduced him to my family and friends.
"He came to family events. Not wanting to rush things, I didn’t push to meet the people in his life. Months later, I suggested he try Facebook again, as a solution to being apart. Again it was met with a firm “no”.
"He said it wasn’t normal to be so concerned about a Facebook page, that his dedication to travelling showed how much he loved me.
"I felt ashamed, he was right. Later I caught him going through my phone questioning every man who’d contacted me.
"He told me he worried because I was “so beautiful” and he “didn’t deserve someone as amazing as me”. We’d arrange to weekends together but he’d cancel with no notice, blaming work. He said he didn’t get his shifts in advance."

More signs emerge...

As the two women carried on relationships with Jay - unbeknown to each other - they claim more signs of his double life emerged.
"After eight months of barely seeing him, he was away for another skydiving weekend. I found his laptop hidden under the bed and decided to watch programmes until I fell asleep," said Helen.
"I’d grown envious that [his classmate] his wife Zara, and their children were taking Jay away - but things weren’t adding up. It wasn’t the first time I’d been in a cheating relationship and my gut started to sense things.
"I noticed his emails were open and searched ‘Zara’ to see what came up, to convince myself there was nothing to worry about. What I found was more than I could have imagined.
"There were emails between them talking about weekend plans, how they loved each other. He talked to her the same way he talked to me.
"The level of deceit was much greater than anything I’d ever known. I convinced myself I was leaving on his return.
"He called on the Monday to say he wasn’t coming home that day.
"I exploded down the phone, told him I knew where he was and if he didn’t return, not to bother coming back.
"That evening I let him explain. He had explanations for almost everything and soon turned himself into the victim.
"He told me Zara had attempted suicide, [his classmate] had left her and she was on her own with the kids.
"He was scared for them because she was on the edge. Apparently after [the classmate] left, she fell for Jay because he was so good with the kids.
"She harassed him, sending inappropriate photos, he wasn’t wanting anything but didn’t feel he couldn’t send her loving messages in return in fear of what she might do in his absence.
"I made him promise never have anything to do with them again."
Zara recalled of her own experience: "When his phone repeatedly rang, I was suspicious. The name Helen - never mentioned before - flashed up. He dashed to take the call. When he returned, I asked if everything was ok.
"Only when I asked about Helen did he begin to explain. He said she was one of his best friends. They dated for months but broke up.
"She was depressed and unstable and had tried suicide. He explained when he was 16, a girl he dated had taken her own life, he felt obliged to stop it happening again. He said she needed him but his family couldn’t stand her.
"I felt awful for asking, not only was he protecting the public, he was an amazing friend. It made me love him more. There were still calls and texts from Helen from time to time. She was even his best friend on Snapchat.
"It was still a shock, when I saw on Facebook a photo of the two of them as her profile picture. Without pause, he explained she had no-one else but him, but out of respect for our relationship, he’d ask her to remove it.
"I suggested we have lunch, a way to nip the issue in the bud. Shortly afterwards I was blocked from her profile.
"In summer 2014, I moved to North Wales. I asked him to come with me. With no objection, he said he’d put in a transfer request to North Wales Police.
"By August, I had moved and started a new job. Ready and waiting for when his transfer was put through.
"But once I moved, communication went dead. I couldn’t understand. Eventually I received messages again. He said his brother was moving in with his girlfriend and he had been helping them.
"Asked why he’d gone quiet, he said he thought I was upset with him and didn’t want to make things worse. I didn’t know why he he thought that. I assumed it was probably my fault."

Changes in behaviour...

Shortly after Helen discovered Jay's emails to Zara, the 'love rat' reportedly became "transfixed" on them moving in together.
"We decided to house share with his brother and best friend," said Helen.
"I’d started a new job and he found work with the West Midlands Fire Service. It felt like we were moving in the right direction.
"Despite reservations he convinced me we should get a pet, he wanted a car so that once he passed his driving test, we could travel more easily.
"We invested in a future.
"But after the ‘honeymoon’ months, cracks began showing. The IT system he helped develop was being implemented around the Midlands, he was the only one able to do the job. Increasingly he spent weekends in Warwick.
"He seemed more stressed and overworked.
"After six months living together, I checked his pockets before doing the washing. I found a train ticket to North Wales. I knew Zara lived there now.
"Everything came rushing back, the pain I’d felt before.
"This time it felt harder to walk away, we’d built a life together, had commitments, I couldn’t just go. I knew if I mentioned the ticket, he’d explain it away.
"I kept it hidden, until something more solid came my way. After that I regularly checked his rail tickets and kept an eye on Zara’s social media.
"There were more tickets, so I questioned him. As expected, he spun a yarn about the Fire Service needing him to work further afield.
"He said he hadn’t told me because he was worried I would get paranoid about him working in the same town as Zara.
"Such was his mental grip on me, he made me feel bad not trusting him.
"More months passed, more train tickets, marks on his back, he smelt different, he became more snappy and frustrated.
"One day there was a photo of him with her and her children on Instagram, he told me he had bumped into her and her son while on a lunch break.
"The boy got upset because of how Jay had suddenly left and made him promise to go to his birthday party. He said he couldn’t turn down the crying child.
"So went. What was definite evidence had been made redundant and I was left feeling a mental wreck.
"Over summer 2015 I started to struggle to grasp what was real and what wasn’t, it impacted my job and my relationships with family and friends."
During his visits to Wales, Jay apparently spent a lot of time on his phone. At other times, Zara noticed it was on silent and face down.
"It was a complete contrast to my attitude - he knew my PIN," she said.
"It was a running joke he had another girlfriend.
"I voiced concerns to a friend. She explained she was always had suspicions and immediately opened her laptop to search for her.
"Top result was picture of Jay and taken a month earlier in the Cairngorm Mountains. A trip, he said, he’d taken with his parents and brother.
"When I called he denied it, only admitting it when I sent a screenshot. He said they’d been friends since childhood and their families went skiing every year. He admitted not telling me about Helen as I’d be upset. I felt awful not trusting him.
"Meanwhile he said he was waiting for applications to be a dog handler in Dolgellau to open. I waited, at one stage suggesting we break up as the relationship was putting a strain on both of us. He claimed he’d been overlooked for promotion because he’d turned down so many shifts to see me but added it was worth the stress.
"In the meantime he would tell me amazing tales where he had single-handedly dispersed fights on trains; arrested an old schoolfriend who’d become an addict; spoke of going undercover in drug busts and how he once risked his job by letting an elderly man off for stealing food.
"His favourite story was arresting Darth Vader on Halloween.
"He’d even gone to London to trace a victim of domestic violence who’d absconded from hospital.
"She stabbed him in the leg when he found her, but he got her to safety.
"Doubts remained, I still hadn’t met a single person in his life. But he’d reassure me. We arranged for me to meet his mum and gran in Birmingham when they visited. But come the day they were caught in traffic and hadn’t managed to make it.
"Life settled down. His transfer application was accepted and he was invited for a fitness test. I went to meet him during a break.
"When he eventually got out he was in jeans and trainers, explaining they’d allowed him to keep his suit in the station. It didn’t quite add up.
"Time passed and there was still no news of the move. Apparently North Wales Police were behind schedule and he had been ringing them daily for news.
"That is until an accident damaged his ankle. He was taken off patrol and placed in the call handlers’ office. He seemed depressed and tired. Being in the office meant his hours changed, he wasn’t able to visit. I tried not to voice frustration.
"Despite occupational physiotherapy, his condition didn’t seem to improve.
"Then he admitted he’d been considering a change of career since he no longer liked the job, there was too much paperwork; the abuse; and it was too much when he had a family waiting for him. I told him not to be ridiculous, we could wait for the transfer.
"But he was adamant. He said he wanted to marry me, suggested we try for a baby. Suddenly, our relationship was hurtling forward with no warning."
Zara recalled how Jay began pushing to look at wedding venues. He was "certain he wanted to get married that January" - just three months away.
"Naturally I was concerned but nothing changed his mind," she said.
"He even asked my ring size as he wanted to arrange for his late gran’s ring resized. To this day, I don’t know if this was for Helen or I - or even if it was true at all."

How it all unravelled...

She added that Jay's double life finally unravelled after Helen contacted her on Instagram.
"October 5, 2015, a notification pops up: It’s from Helen," she said
"After years of silence she wanted to speak. She said I’ve probably heard she and Jay were no longer living together. I called, my mind a whirlwind of questions. He never mentioned living with Helen I was shaking and could hear her voice trembling.
"It was then she revealed she and Jay had been in a relationship for six years and recently moved in together. They had a pet rabbit together.
"Most shockingly, he’d lied about being a policeman. He’d been unemployed when we first met... He told her I was depressed, unstable and suicidal.
"His lies were almost interchangeable. If either of us questioned him, he’d accuse us of paranoia. There were conversations he was adamant we’d had, claiming we’d forgotten. The reality is, he was jumbling us up.
"By planting the idea both Helen and I were unstable neither contacted one another."
Helen added: "[Zara] messaged back instantly, we sat talking on the phone. The past three years fitted together like pieces from a puzzle. Both our minds were blown by what we had to tell each other about our parallel lives with Jay."
The two women decided to confront Jay together that Saturday. However, they were forced to change their plan when he turned up at Zara's home that night.
"I pretended to sleep," said the writer.
"When he began snoring, I texted Helen to let her know where he was. The following day I called her. We knew we had to bring forward our confrontation.
"She would come to me. That night, we watched a film. He relaxed in his pyjamas, unaware of what was to come."

The confrontation...

Recalling the moment the pair confronted the 'love rat', Helen said: "My stomach was in knots, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never met her before but felt I knew Zara so well. We pulled up at her house and were greeted by her dad, Zara told Jay he would be popping round to discuss a family funeral.
"She greeted me with a big hug and I followed her father into the living room, my parents behind me. As soon as he saw me, he turned as pale, I could see his world had cracked.
"He couldn’t comprehend how or why I was there. All I wanted were answers and closure, anything we’d ever had together had been a lie. Over my time away I accepted I was going to have to turn off my emotions and be matter of fact with this situation, I couldn’t let him manipulate me anymore.
"We were calm with him given the situation and the fact all our stomachs were doing somersaults. We all wanted answers and he barely provided any. I made it clear he’d lost me, I was never going back and wanted nothing more to do with him."
Zara explained: "At 8pm, my dad let himself into the house. Jay greeted my father, who was unresponsive. Then Helen and I walk into the room together.
"I’ll never forget his look. We sat together, trying to get some explanation from him but he remained silent. Our parents asked questions.
"He refused to speak or gave minimal response."
Jay then apparently turned his focus to her, telling her that three years into his relationship with Helen they had grown distant and become more like pals.
But Helen said: "Over the years I had given him opportunities to get out of the relationship on mutual terms. From when I first discovered more about Zara he could have been honest and it would have been over.
"He could have had a life with her and her kids instead. Instead, he convinced me to stay and then tied me into more responsibilities together, a home, a pet, a car. He had been building two lives, one in Birmingham, one North Wales.
"He went on to say, he’d met Zara and found himself falling in love. She later told me they met via a dating site - which he denied.
"He told us that evening that his parents knew all about it and had supported his decisions, this was heart breaking for me. I’d been there a lot for him and his family, through deaths, illnesses, they were like a second family. Zara said he had always told her that his family ‘hated me’, yet he came back and said they loved me."
Zara added: "The whole time he was staring into my eyes. It was painful. But despite the dramatic confrontation, we got nowhere. Attempts at an explanation proved fruitless. He remained stonyfaced. The decision was passed to me about what I wanted. As midnight approached, I decided to call it a night.
"Helen called his mum, and said they would bring him back. He refused to leave, saying he needed to speak to me alone."
Jay ended up being forced to leave the house. The two women claim nothing he told them filled in "any of the gaps" they needed filling.
"It was pointless, he was living in a fantasy world, he was a coward," claimed Helen.
"He couldn’t live up to what he had done."

The future?

Zara said that despite their circumstances, she and Helen helped each other to overcome their ordeals and realised they had similar personalities.
"Helen and I spoke regularly afterwards," she said.
"We helped each other pick up the pieces.
"We discovered, looks aside had similar personalities. We studied art at university, enjoyed printmaking, we even wore the same perfume and had similar jobs.
"To be honest, I don't know how I'd have got through it without her."
She added: "Doctor Foster aired the time Jay's secret life was revealed. Affairs happen but the deception, the warren of untruths that took years to surface set this apart from someone who has fallen in love with two people at the same time.
"He had created a fantasy life. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been affected by this.
"I remember my first reaction when I found out the truth was relief. Relief that I wasn’t going mad. But I never did get the closure I felt we deserved."
Jay Doherty was contacted by the Daily Post and offered a right to reply. He has, so far, ignored the newspaper's requests.

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