Glasgow & West Scotland

Elizabeth Smith: 'My world just collapsed'

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Media captionElizabeth Smith wants to warn others to be wary of people who may not be what they seem

When Elizabeth Smith met her husband Dave she found him to be "just a normal, lovely guy".

But he turned out to be a "Walter Mitty character" who, over the next three years, poisoned her with laxatives.

He made her so ill that doctors thought she may have motor neurone disease.

Smith, 62, also convinced her he had been in the SAS and carried out the raid on the Iranian Embassy.

He also said his first wife was a professional ballerina who died along with their unborn child, and claimed he owned a factory which made top secret components for the MoD, which he was planning to sell in a multi-million pound deal.

They were all lies.

Smith has been jailed for three and a half years and was told by a sheriff he was guilty of a "prolonged and evil course of criminal conduct".

Elizabeth, 62, had met Smith, who is from Telford in Shropshire, in a TK Maxx store and they had gone for a coffee.

'So genuine'

"He was the kindest - just a normal, lovely guy," she told BBC Scotland.

"He was a family man - a wonderful man who came across as so genuine and real.

"I did think 'did that just happen?'. It was all quite surreal really."

The relationship developed quickly and the couple were soon regularly phoning, texting and emailing each other.

Smith told Elizabeth, who is from Ayr, he had been divorced for four years but it turned out he had only been apart from his second wife for four weeks.

The next time the couple met up was about eight weeks later at Glasgow Airport after Smith had travelled up from Telford.

"He was an absolute gentleman," Elizabeth said.

She said she had no doubts about the man she later married.

Elizabeth suffered from severe migraines and side-effects which included double vision and sickness.

However, over a period of time, her symptoms became worse and she was suffering from severe sickness and diarrhoea.

"Looking back, my migraines gave him something to work on," Elizabeth said.

"On one occasion when I was down at his house I was so ill with sickness and diarrhoea. I was in a dreadful mess and he cleaned it all up. I thought 'you're a keeper'. What guy at the start of a relationship would do that?"

About six months into the relationship Elizabeth's health was going quickly downhill.

"It got so rapid that that they thought I had early stages of motor neurone disease," she said.

"I would be sitting working with my clients and all of a sudden I would feel really dizzy and I would think 'oh no, god' thinking it was my head.

"I would go to stand up - then I was out cold, blue-lighted to hospital.

"My son thought his mum was dying."

Staged break-in

Elizabeth's symptoms became so bad she paid to see a private neurologist.

"I used to have to go upstairs on my bum because I had no strength, then the sickness and diarrhoea just got worse," she said.

"I was in bed for almost two years on and off. I was just so ill I couldn't do anything. It was absolutely horrific."

Elizabeth eventually discovered that money was missing from her bank account.

Image caption David Smith was convicted of culpably and recklessly administering laxative substances

"I very foolishly had given him my card number, but were married," she said.

Elizabeth said Smith was very upset when she asked him about the money and denied any involvement.

He said he did not need any money as the sale of his factory was about to go through.

Smith's web of lies unravelled after he staged a break-in at the couple's home.

On their way to a new house, Smith had asked Elizabeth to pull the car over and he had run back to their house, leaving her waiting in the car.

"After about 10 minutes he came running out saying there had been a break-in," she said. "I had money in a safe and it was lying in the front garden."

'Everything unfolded'

A few days later, in the presence of family members, Elizabeth said to Smith: 'Thank the Lord you're ok. I felt as if I'd sat out there forever."

He had told CID he had noticed the break-in and gone straight back out to the car to tell her.

"That was what tripped him up," Elizabeth said. "Money was found in the car. That was when everything unfolded.

"My world just collapsed after that."

Image caption Elizabeth said her husband was "completely caught up in a web of lies"

Elizabeth still can't believe she was duped by Smith.

"For me there were no signs of anything," she said. "Even about the SAS and everything - that part of his life - at one point I did say to him 'Dave, I haven't seen anything about your past'. He tried to tell me his ex-wife had everything locked in the attic.

"He's a 100% 'Walter Mitty character'. He has got caught up completely in his web of lies.

"I don't think that man knows what love is. He even took me to Mexico for my 60th birthday but then I found out he had paid for it with my money.

"Why didn't he just tell me he worked as a tool-maker in his ex-father-in law's factory?

"You never believe that these things can happen to people like us."

She added: "I want people to be aware that there are people like this out there and they are very, very dangerous men.

"He has taken away five years of my life. It's heartbreaking."

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