Love-struck Dea Guard was overjoyed when her boyfriend got down on one knee on her 16th birthday and asked her to be his wife.
Dea’s mum Mandy was also thrilled and told everyone that 19-year-old Neil Gooch would make the perfect husband.
She was right, he has made the perfect husband – for MANDY who heartlessly stole her daughter’s fianc›.
Dea only discovered the two were having an affair when her 12-year-old sister confessed she’d “seen Mum and Neil kissing behind the garden shed”.
When she confronted them they admitted everything and Neil brazenly switched from Dea’s bed into her mum’s – leaving his childhood sweetheart humiliated and an emotional wreck.
Builder Neil, now 32, and Mandy, 47, set up home together and now have two young children.
Speaking for the first time about her heartache Dea, now 27, told The People: “I will never be able to understand how my own mother could betray me in such a cold and calculating way.
“She’d always adored Neil. My dad had a few reservations because we were so young when we got together but Mum was all for us getting married.
“She helped Neil choose my engagement ring and threw a big party for us. She was my best friend – we were so close and I told her everything, like when Neil and I started going through a rocky patch.
“Mum was so caring and sympathetic and insisted we would sort it all out. Now I think that was when she and Neil started their affair.” Dea, from Greenhithe, Kent, met Neil at school when he was 18 and she was 15. They got engaged on her 16th birthday.
Neil spent weekends with Dea, her parents Mandy and Vince and her brother and two sisters, and was soon part of the family.
Dea, who had started work in a shoe shop, said: “At 17 I fell pregnant but had a miscarriage. Over the next couple of years I started getting back in touch with old school friends and going on the odd night out with them.
“But Neil hated it and started getting very possessive, turning up outside the pub we were at or following me.
“We had a couple of brief splits but always got back together again and Mum was always pleased that the wedding plans were back on.
“We would sit up for hours planning it – what she would wear, how many bridesmaids I’d have.
“She and Dad had been together since they were teenagers but had never actually tied the knot.
“Then two years after I got engaged they decided to get married and I was a bridesmaid.” But two years later her parents’ marriage hit difficulties and her dad moved out.
Dea said: “Neil and I had tried to sort our differences out but in 2001 I told him I thought we needed a real break.
“We were deciding what to do when my little sister came up to me one day and said she had seen Neil and Mum kissing.
“I told her not to be silly but at the same time I just knew it was true. I think I went into shock and for two days I said nothing.