The Dailymail UK
A Grimsby-born woman who moved to Uganda to start a new life with her younger boyfriend ended up being robbed of her $100,000 (£77,000) savings and was left fearing for her life.
Lisa Morgan, 50, became engaged to Boaz Asingwire, 12 years her junior, and moved to the East African country to set up construction and money lending businesses.
But their relationship turned violent and Boaz would keep her locked in the house while he spent her savings.
But despite her experiences, Lisa says she has forgiven Boaz and even still loves him, after he was killed in a car crash as she fought to get her money back through the courts.
And she has now written a book about her heartbreaking experiences called Love Has Many Faces.
Lisa, then 42, met Boaz, 30, while working as a security contractor in Iraq and they struck up a friendship, and bonded over their shared losses.
She had lost her brother to suicide, while Boaz’s father had died at a young age after being shot while serving in the army.
‘It was obvious to me that Boaz and I found comfort in each other,’ Lisa said. ‘We had both suffered losses and were like two lost souls destined to be with each other.
‘All I knew was for the very first time in my life I actually felt a connection, a bond with somebody. I could really relate to this person.
‘Boaz was my Mr Right and meant everything to me. After working in the war torn Middle East I finally had the chance of love and happiness’
‘I was sixteen again. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I realised there was a lot more to him than met the eye. He was quite deep and would write love notes, slip them into my bag or under the door.’
Lisa and Boaz had been together for a year when he proposed, and the couple decided they would start a new life together in Uganda. ‘I trusted Boaz enough to leave my job and move to his country to be with him,’ she explained.
‘He was my soulmate and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and he was such a responsible person. You knew he would be happy to see you happy. And whenever we were together it felt lovely, like that nice, warm glow after your first glass of wine.’
Boaz wanted to start a money lending business and buy cattle and a piece of land to build a house, while Lisa was keen to buy land and set up her own construction company.
He went ahead to Uganda, and Lisa transferred $69,000 (£53,000) of her savings into their new joint account and took the rest of her money with her in cash.
As soon as she arrived, they set about furnishing their new home. ‘We shopped in local markets and paid cash for everything out of my money,’ Lisa said.
‘He’d said I couldn’t open a bank account as a foreigner without supplying certain documents. But that was okay. I trusted Boaz. And we had a joint account. For now, I was happy.’
Boaz was keen for them to set up their money lending business without delay and told Lisa that his brother, a lawyer, could help with the paperwork.
‘A contract was drawn up and I was given twenty shares in the company,’ she recalled. ‘I didn’t understand why it was only twenty instead of fifty but Boaz said as a foreigner I could only own a certain amount.
‘Of course I was his partner and he’d change it after we were married. He also asked for a sample of my signature. As we were setting up a business account, it was just a formality.’
The couple forked out $20,000 (£15,300) to buy a Toyota Land Cruiser, paying in cash Boaz had taken out of their joint account.
‘It was Boaz who looked after the cash,’ Lisa said. ‘He looked after everything. He withdrew all the money; hundreds at a time.
‘Sometime later I realised I hadn’t seen the bank cards. I wondered if we had to collect them or they were going to be sent to our address. When I asked Boaz where they were, he would say, “Don’t you trust me Lisa?”.
‘Once I insisted on going to the bank with him but he made me wait in the car, saying he had to do something first. He deliberately parked the car so I couldn’t see where he was going.’
As time passed, Boaz always seemed to need more cash and decided to get a loan using their car as collateral.
‘He was doing a project with some other people. It involved a land eviction order,’ Lisa said. I didn’t know much about it but he needed me to sign some papers. So I did. If I ever asked any questions all he’d say is, “Don’t you trust me Lisa?” Of course I did. But now doubts were beginning to creep in.’
Soon after, she found messages from other women on his laptop and he started detaining her in the house.
‘Boaz would leave the house early in the morning and tip toe out so I couldn’t hear him. He always took the car leaving me stranded,’ Lisa said.
‘He was obsessed with that car. Only he could drive it. To make sure he would sometimes hide the keys and once he managed to immobilise the car through the electronic key fob. I spotted the car outside and thought right, I’m off. I will go and find something to do. But, of course, the car wouldn’t move.
‘Another time he paid the Security Guard not to let me out if I tried to leave the compound in the car. I saw Boaz talking to the guard and slipping him some money. So of course, when the guard saw me he wouldn’t let me out of the gates. I was so angry.’
As Boaz’s mood swings grew worse, the relationship turned violent.
‘If I asked where he’d been or how the business was going, he would push me out the way and tell me not to ask questions,’ she recalled. ‘But when I finally stood up to him he lashed out and slapped me across the face.’
Boaz promised not to hurt her again, but the violence did not stop.
‘Another time he kicked my legs from under me and I fell on the floor, injuring my back. I was so shocked I burst into tears.
‘He was on his knees begging for forgiveness, saying he still loved me and wanted to marry me, it would never happen again but it did.
‘I’m not the type of person who will put up with cheats or violence. I couldn’t accept what he had done to us. I now knew our relationship wasn’t going to last and I had to get out.
‘From then on, if I annoyed him he would give me a slap. Once he hit me so hard across my face that he caught my lip; it ballooned to twice its normal size. Another time he throttled me so hard that I nearly passed out.’
Lisa would report the attacks to the police, but they wouldn’t intervene and she ended up fearing for her life.
Boaz went missing for six weeks, and on his return Lisa demanded her money back so she could leave him. He presented her with $29,000 (£22,000) and then beat her up again.
Lisa used the money to buy a piece of land, wanting to at least salvage some security of her own.
But when it came to signing the contract, she discovered Boaz had put the land in his name.
‘I didn’t argue. Boaz was very domineering. And anyway, I was biding my time.’
Lisa wanted to prove that Boaz had been stealing her money and try to recoup some of it.
I felt sorry for him and always will. I could never hate Boaz. I forgave him a long time ago.
‘It was a hell of a lot of money; by now it was nearly $100,000 with my last salary now transferred. ‘If I asked where my money was, he’d say, “Lisa, you spent it,” and point at the sofa or the fridge. Or, “You know you cannot be trusted with money.” It was like he was trying to drive me mad.’
Lisa approached Federacion Internacional de Abogadas (FIDA), a coalition of female lawyers who help women in violent situations.
‘If they took my case I could get my money back and maybe my sanity I didn’t know where I’d go but I was ready to start over, I was sick of playing the victim. I knew I had to fight back,’ I said.
At her first meeting Lisa saw her bank statement for the first time and discovered the bank account was in Boaz’s name only – and all her money was gone.
‘Even my final salary that had been transferred over was gone. All I could see was withdrawal after withdrawal. One day he had withdrawn over $5,000 (£3,800). He had looted my money.’
Lisa forged ahead with legal proceedings and brought a civil case to try and get her money back.
But while legal tussles continued, she received a phone call late at night from Boaz on the two year anniversary of their engagement.
At she received another call 1.30am from his sister to say Boaz was dead after being involved in a car accident. A heartbroken Lisa went to the morgue, where she was shown his body.
‘As much as he had stripped me of my dignity and deceived me, I never wished him harm,’ Lisa said. I felt sorry for him and always will. ‘I could never hate Boaz; I forgave him a long time ago.’
In August 2014 Lisa managed to wrap up her life in Uganda and fly back to London.
‘It had taken less than three months to have all my money taken from me. It took another six months for a court to take on my case. And it had taken another year, after Boaz’s death, to tie everything up and gather together enough money to leave.
‘In just over two years my life had been turned upside down. I’d gone from being in love to losing everything. I was still struggling to come to terms with the fact Boaz was dead.
‘I don’t think he was a bad person. However in the end he was extremely good at being bad. He managed to rip me to pieces both physically and mentally. No, I think he was tempted by all that money. I’m sure we are all guilty of that
‘Money turned even Boaz from the sweet guy I fell for into a devil.’