barbara stonehouse
barbara stonehouse

Barbara Stonehouse: A Story of Betrayal, Resilience, and Remarriage

Barbara Stonehouse, formerly Barbara Flexney-Briscoe, is best known as the first wife of former UK MP John Stonehouse. Their marriage, which lasted over 30 years and produced three children, came to a shocking end when John faked his death and started a new life with his secretary, Sheila Buckley, in Australia.

Barbara’s journey through discovering her husband’s deceit, the subsequent divorce, and eventual remarriage showcase her resilience and ability to move forward.

The Betrayal and Divorce

The news of John Stonehouse’s supposed drowning off the coast of Miami, Florida, was devastating for Barbara. According to RadioTimes, she struggled to come to terms with the loss of her husband and the sudden end of their life together.

However, the truth about John’s elaborate plan to fake his death and start a new life in Australia with Sheila Buckley came to light, leaving Barbara blindsided. The shock of the betrayal ultimately led to the end of their marriage, with Barbara and John divorcing in 1978.

John Stonehouse’s Deception and Legal Consequences

John Stonehouse’s audacious plan to fake his death involved obtaining a forged identity and going to Australia. He managed to enter the country through Hawaii and Mauritius while secretly siphoning money from his bank account into New Zealand and New South Wales banks.

However, Australian authorities eventually discovered his true identity and illegal immigration status, leading to his deportation to the United Kingdom.

Upon his return, John Stonehouse was arrested and charged with fraud. He faced trial for his actions and was ultimately sentenced to seven years. The legal consequences of his deceit further highlighted the betrayal’s magnitude and its impact on Barbara and their family.

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Moving On and Remarriage

Following the tumultuous events surrounding her divorce from John Stonehouse, Barbara focused on rebuilding her life. She found happiness again when she met and married Dennis Flexney-Briscoe. Barbara’s ability to move forward and find love after such a betrayal demonstrates her strength and resilience.

Barbara Stonehouse Today

Now in her nineties, Barbara Stonehouse, formerly Barbara Flexney-Briscoe, has persevered and created a fulfilling life for herself. Although information about her current life is limited, it is evident that she has moved on from the past and has found happiness in her second marriage.

The Stonehouse Drama on Screen

The intriguing story of the Stonehouse saga has attracted attention from the media, leading to its recreation in an ITV documentary.

The hour-long three-part documentary delves into the events surrounding John Stonehouse’s deception and its impact on Barbara’s life. Set to air on January 2, 3, and 4, the documentary “What Happened to Barbara Stonehouse?” explores the emotional journey Barbara experienced during that challenging time.

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Barbara’s Disagreement with Inaccuracies and Factual Errors

Barbara has disagreed with the inaccuracies and factual errors in publications that discuss the Stonehouse incident and portray her life and character.

She wrote a letter to the editorial legal director of Hachette UK Limited, demanding answers and rectification regarding the book titled Stonehouse: Cabinet Minister, Fraudster, Spy by Julian Hayes. In her letter, she highlights the errors and discrepancies and has made it available to read on her daughter Julia Stonehouse’s website.

Barbara’s Second Husband and Loss

Barbara married her second husband, Dennis Flexney-Briscoe, after divorcing John Stonehouse. Unfortunately, Dennis passed away on November 24, 2012, at 88. While Barbara has not revealed her current whereabouts, she lived in Wiltshire, England, with her husband before his passing.

John Stonehouse True Story on ITV

The true story of John Stonehouse will be depicted in a three-part documentary airing on ITV on January 2, 3, and 4. The series will feature actors such as Matthew Macfadyen as John Stonehouse, Keeley Hawes as Barbara Stonehouse (his first wife), and Emer Heatley as Sheila Buckley (his secretary).

Directed by Jon S Baird and with a screenplay by John Preston, the documentary will delve into Stonehouse’s life, including his marriage to Barbara, his extramarital affair with Sheila, and his alleged involvement in spying on the British government for the Czech secret service. The series will explore Stonehouse’s story after his disappearance during a business trip to Miami, Florida, where he faked his death.

Reasons Behind John Stonehouse’s Fake Death

John Stonehouse faked his death to settle in Australia with his secretary, Sheila Buckley, and start a new life. The pivotal moment he occurred when Stonehouse left behind a neatly folded pile of clothes on the beach and swam into the ocean during a business trip in Miami, Florida, never to return.

According to the Daily Mail, Stonehouse’s disappearance was motivated by multiple factors. One significant reason was his debt, as he owed approximately $966,148 (£800,000) at the time, equivalent to over $12 million (£10 million) in today’s money.

Additionally, a substantial sum of $725,000 was missing from a charity fund he had established to aid flood victims in Bangladesh. Stonehouse’s 23 companies also faced financial difficulties during that period, adding to the pressures that led him to abandon his life in the UK and fake his death.


Who is Barbara Stonehouse?

Barbara Stonehouse, formerly Barbara Flexney-Briscoe, is the first wife of former UK MP John Stonehouse. She played a significant role in the events surrounding John’s deception and subsequent divorce.

What happened between Barbara and John Stonehouse?

Barbara and John Stonehouse were married for over 30 years until John faked his own death and started a new life with his secretary in Australia. The revelation of his deceit led to their divorce.

Has Barbara remarried?

Yes, Barbara remarried after her divorce from John Stonehouse. She married Dennis Flexney-Briscoe and changed her name to Barbara Flexney-Briscoe.

What is Barbara’s opinion on publications about the Stonehouse incident?

Barbara disagrees with the inaccuracies and factual errors in publications discussing the Stonehouse incident and portraying her life and character. She has written a letter to demand answers and rectifications from the publishers.

What is known about Barbara Stonehouse’s current life?

Information about Barbara’s current life is limited. However, it is known that she lived in Wiltshire, England, with her second husband Dennis Flexney-Briscoe before his passing.

Will the Stonehouse saga be featured in a documentary?

A three-part documentary titled “What Happened to Barbara Stonehouse?” will air on ITV. It explores the events surrounding John Stonehouse’s deception and its impact on Barbara’s life.

What were the reasons behind John Stonehouse faking his death?

John Stonehouse faked his death to escape financial difficulties, including significant debts and missing funds from a charity he established. He also sought a fresh start with his secretary in Australia.

About Calvin Croley 2023 Articles
Calvin Croley holds Master’s degree in Business Administration. As an avid day trader, Calvin is a master of technical analysis and writes tirelessly on how stocks are trading. He has extensive knowledge in technical analysis & news writing. Calvin delivers reports regarding news category.Email: [email protected]Address: 654 East 10th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93307 USA

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