EXCLUSIVE: Rockingham man who married dying, unconscious bride says he would do it all again

EXCLUSIVE: Rockingham man who married dying, unconscious bride says he would do it all again

THE man who wed Rockingham’s unconscious, dying bride has said he would do it all again and may fight to have his now-annulled marriage reinstated.

The Courier interviewed Sophia Williams’ groom Malcolm Byrne last week after it was revealed their 2015 marriage had been deemed illegal and struck from the WA Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

READ: Malcolm Byrne’s heart-wrenching open letter to the Courier

At the time of her marriage ceremony, Sophia was unconscious, unable to repeat her vows and unable to sign the marriage certificate.

She died a short time later that day.

Mr Byrne maintains he did nothing wrong in going through with the marriage ceremony, despite admitting to signing Sophia’s name on her behalf to certify the marriage.

“This is the woman that I loved more than anything in the world,” he said.

“Sophia, her ears were still working – she was still with us but not communicating.

“It was her dying wish to get married.

“I feel there is nothing I’ve done wrong.”

The marriage was annulled last month, just weeks after Warnbro celebrant Diane Caratozzolo-Waddington pleaded guilty to a charge of purporting to solemnise a marriage.

The court heard that Caratozzolo-Waddington had suggested to Mr Byrne he put a pen in his partner’s hand and assist her to sign an ‘X’, but instead he signed her signature by tracing or copying it from another piece of paper.

“I did put her signature on it, but I did not trace it. I had a bit of paper next to it and I copied her signature,” Mr Byrne told the Courier.

“If I had to do it all again I would have done the same thing.”

Mr Byrne said there was no ulterior motive in marrying his partner of six years and said he had lost family and friends in the fallout.

“I’ve not just lost her but I’ve lost the family,” he said.

“No-one’s spoken to me. I did everything for that family and for Sophie.

“There wasn’t any financial gain; her wishes have not been honoured.

“I had no idea that when you get married it annuls a will.

“I’ve lost friends over this – I’ve got nothing to hide.

“I am looking at legal avenues and I’m going to fight for my marriage and for Sophie.

“There’s not much more I can tell you – it was a stressful, surreal day.”

The Marriage Law and Celebrants section of the Federal Attorney General’s department is continuing to investigate whether the Warnbro celebrant involved should be subject to further penalty, up to and including deregistration.

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