James Devlin took to the internet to seek out a suitable match after splitting up with his partner of five years in June
A love-seeking events manager chatted to another singleton online – only to find his potential date was in prison for murder.
James Devlin took to the internet to seek out a suitable match after splitting up with his partner of five years in June.
But when he struck up a Skype conversation with one candidate, he started to get suspicious.
He told the Liverpool Echo : “Before we arranged to meet I thought I’d go by the golden rule of asking for his name so I could check him out on Facebook and make sure he was who he said he was.
“I asked him if I could add him, and explained I wanted to check that he was real because he was a stranger to me, but he kept insisting he was.
“Every time I spoke to him he talked about having an apartment in the Albert Dock and I’d say ‘show me the view out of the window’ but he never would.
“He always had a white wall behind him which I thought was odd, but he told me his whole background story including where he worked.
I gave him my name and woke up the next morning to a friend request on Facebook from him so I decided to Google his name.
It turned out he was in prison serving a sentence for murdering his ex-boyfriend and he was Skyping me from there somehow.
“He couldn’t possibly have ever met me like he said he wanted to, it was all just a really weird game.
“I was shaking when I messaged him back and said ‘I think there’s something you haven’t told me’.
“He said ‘what do you mean?’ and I told him I’d Googled his name and wished I hadn’t. He literally deleted me off everything straight away.”
The macabre experience is just one of a long line of Mr Wrongs James has discovered.
After that narrow escape, James continued his search, only to cross paths with more unavailable men. “With one, we were sitting outside the Quarter waiting to order when he suddenly shot up and ran to the toilets. I thought he must not be well, but then I got a message from him to say he was going to have to go because his partner had just walked in with his mum!
“Even then he still asked to meet me outside – I told him that was never happening.”
He added: “I’ve tried out internet dating and it’s been an absolute disaster so now I’m taking the traditional route in the hope that there’s other people out there in the same boat as me.
“Online dating and dating apps are such a minefield, everyone seems to be either weirdos, cheaters or just looking for sex – old fashioned dating just doesn’t seem to exist anymore.
“There’s more choice now and everyone just keeps moving on because they’re convinced there’s always something better out there than they’ve already found.
“I just hope that an old fashioned method will attract an old fashioned romantic and I’ll end up finding a different type of person to the ones I’ve been meeting – someone else who’s on the same wavelength as me.”
James, who lives in the city centre, found himself thrown back into a drastically changed dating world after splitting with his partner.
“I thought I was settled with my previous partner, we were talking about buying a house, maybe adopting children, then suddenly it ended,” he said.
“So I wasn’t expecting to be looking for someone again, and when I did I found the rules had completely changed.
“Gay clubs aren’t really the right place to meet someone for a long-term relationship, it’s more a casual thing, and at work I’m often someone’s boss so even if there was a really good looking guy I wouldn’t try and pick him up because it would be unprofessional.
That’s how I ended up with online and dating apps, but it was terrible. I’d get speaking to someone, tell them that I really wanted to meet someone special and then after a while it would become obvious that all they were after was sex or they were lying or seeing someone else.
With his milestone 40th birthday looming, and his eight siblings all with partners and children, James has set himself the six-month target.
“I never thought I’d be where I am at the age I am. I’ve got a good job, I’m independent, I think I’ve got a lot to offer – I just want someone to share my life with,” he says.
He hopes the Echo personal advert, searching for a soulmate, will finally end his run of bad luck.
“I hope someone who takes the time to respond might be a bit more honest and caring, and more thoughtful than someone just swiping right or left on their phone.