JOY has turned to heartbreak for a gran reunited with her long-lost sister, who then ran off with her love-rat husband of 45 years.
Mum-of-four Gill Flockhart, 61, was elated when she saw sister Helen, 59, for the first time since 1971.
Helen’s arrival from Australia for a tearful reunion was supposed to bring the family together but, instead, it has torn it even further apart.
Gill’s husband Carson, 66, and her sister started a sordid fling which grew into a full-blown affair.
Now the cheats are living together near Perth, Australia, and, relatives say, have swapped rings, hinting at marriage. Gill is yet to sign divorce papers.
Gill, of Calne, Wilts, said: “I assumed Carson and I would be together until the day we were put in the ground.
“We talked about sharing the same coffin and we made mirror wills. Now all of that is over and I am left alone. I thought about Helen all those years and believed the reunion would be the cherry on the cake of my happy family life.
“Instead she had an affair with my husband. They’re now shacked up in the sunshine and telling everyone what a happy life they have. It’s heartbreaking.
“I want to strangle her but it’s not all her doing, it’s him as well. They’ve both ruined my life.”
Pregnant Gill was just 16 when she married Carson at Chippenham registration office in March 1971. She had bouffant hair, wore a mini dress and had Helen, then 14, at her side.
Gill said: “Carson told me he loved me to bits and wanted to marry me whether I was pregnant or not.”
Just days after the wedding, Gill’s parents emigrated to Australia with Helen and her sister, aged eight, and brothers 12 and 10.
Childcare worker Gill said: “It broke my heart but I had a family of my own to think about.”
The couple moved into a flat in Derry Hill, Wilts, and nine months later got a house in Calne. Carson was working in forestry, planting Christmas trees. They went on to have four daughters, now aged 45, 41 and twins who are 40.
Gill always regretted losing touch with Helen but said her sister was never out of her thoughts.
Gill said: “We had a very happy marriage. We had the girls and that was my life. We had a very healthy sex life and we never went to bed on a row.
“Carson was a loving husband, he used to tell me he loved me every day.
“He would kiss me and always held my hand – right up until my sister landed in England for a holiday.”
In September 2014, Gill was over the moon after being phoned out of the blue by Helen, who had recently got married in a vineyard.
Within two weeks, Helen had flown over from Perth and she and Gill quickly became inseparable.
Gill said: “We laughed, we talked, we went out nearly every day she was here.
It was like she’d never been away. Her husband phoned her every day and it was all lovey-dovey. We were both happy.”
Yet there was a warning sign which, with hindsight, Gill thinks she should have picked up.
One day Helen opened her heart to her big sister. Gill said: “Helen said to me one day that I had a lovely family and she wished she’d had my life.
“She said she’d had a s**t life so far and no one understood her.”
But what Helen did not mention was that she had found a shoulder to cry on – Gill’s husband Carson. Helen returned to Australia but kept in touch with Gill. She returned to Britain in March 2015 for another three weeks.
This time she did not stay at Gill’s home but rented a cottage 10 miles away at Royal Wootton Bassett. Carson, a retired logistics manager, went over every day to light the fire as Helen said it was cold.
Gill said: “I thought Carson was just being nice. But it did feel like Helen didn’t want me there.
“I should have suspected something was up because everything I suggested we do together, she turned down flat.”
It was Gill and Carson’s 40-yearold daughter who did become suspicious, checking Carson’s phone and computer.
She found her dad and aunt had been in touch since her first visit and that things hubby Carson had turned sexual. The night before Helen flew home, there was a family showdown.
Gill said: “My daughter asked Helen and Carson outright at a family gathering: ‘Right, what’s going on between you two?’ “I was shushing her but she told her dad she’d read their texts, Facebook messages and emails. She said she knew he was sleeping with Helen.
“I went numb and Carson completely denied it. He dragged me out of the house and we got a taxi home. He didn’t say a word.”
The next day, Carson told Gill he loved her, denied anything had happened and dismissed the messages as “a little silliness” on his part.
Gill said: “So that’s what I believed.
I thought that everything would go back to normal.”
He asked if he could take Helen to Heathrow and Gill told him: “Anything to get the b***h out of my life.”
Gill’s life took another nasty twist a few weeks later when she collapsed with flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital.
She said: “Carson came in every day to see me but never stayed for long.
“I later found out he’d taken the week off work and told his bosses it was to be with me.
“But he wasn’t with me most of the time. I’m certain he was talking to Helen. People have told me since that they saw him here, there and everywhere talking to somebody on his tablet. They thought he was talking to me.”
Even when their marriage finally collapsed in November, Carson wouldn’t confirm her suspicions.
She said: “The day he said he didn’t love me any more cut me in half so bad, I’ve never hurt so much. He insisted he’d been faithful throughout our marriage before Helen came along but he didn’t love me any more.”
Little did she know Helen had already separated from her husband, leaving her free to be with Carson.
Gill has not spoken to Carson or Helen since their split but, after losing her father last month, she flew to Australia and received a final kick in the teeth. Relatives said Helen and Carson are living happily ever after, sharing a home. Gill said: “We’re not even divorced but family members told me they recently exchanged rings.
“It broke my heart all over again. I couldn’t believe they had both got their fresh start and I have been left with nothing.” Gill tried unsuccessfully to contact them but insists she would be polite if their paths crossed.
She said: “I still love Helen, she’s my sister. As for Carson, if he’d turned up on my doorstep two months ago I would probably have taken him back and said: ‘I forgive you’. But not now. They’re welcome to one another.”
Yesterday Helen declined to comment and Carson did not reply to our inquiries
I want to strangle her. I’m heartbroken by their betrayal.