I accidentally got locked in my boyfriend’s DAD’S handcuffs on our third date and had to get the fire service to cut me free… but now we’re married with a child

The 32-year-old executive PA, from north London, had been enjoying a romantic pre-Valentine’s Day night in with Stewart, 36, at his family home when the couple decided to try out the fancy dress item.

Having soon realised there was no key, they battled to prise off the cuffs for two hours before Stew called his folks to confess.

The embarrassed pair then headed to their local fire station where a fireman released Sarah using a set of industrial bolt cutters – and a lads' magazine to shield her face from any flying debris.

Now, 12 years after the amusing incident in February 2007, the couple are married with a son – and Sarah admits they haven’t dared look at a pair of handcuffs since.

“I was mortified when Stewart called his parents,” Sarah tells Fabulous Digital.

“But I was also really starting to panic. Luckily they found it hilarious. I think both they and the firemen refused to believe we hadn’t been getting up to anything naughty!

“Stew and I still weren’t an official couple, but I definitely think the incident helped us bond – pardon the pun.

“We laughed about it on our actual Valentine’s Day date a week later over dinner. I was surprised he didn’t buy me a fluffy pair of handcuffs as a joke present.”

The couple grew up in the same village – Radlett in north-west London – and started dating while both were at university in Nottingham.

“He was a bit older than me so we didn’t socialise much when we were younger, but we’d say hello to each other on campus, then I added him on Facebook and we started messaging,” Sarah recalls.

“Both of us still lived with our parents and had popped back home for a weekend. We’d only been on a couple of dates and Stewart invited me over to his for a takeaway.

“We were chilling and watching TV when one of his dad’s friends came to the door and handed him a pair of handcuffs. He’d borrowed them for a fancy dress party and was returning them.

“He came back into the living room and Stew, with a glint in his eye, thought it would be hilarious if I put them on.”

It was only after she was locked in that she realised the metal cuffs were missing a key.

“They were actually quite hard-wearing, and as I tried to get them off they tightened more and more on my wrist,” Sarah explains.

“I started to panic. We just couldn’t see a way of getting them off. We found some secateurs in the kitchen, which are obviously intended to cut plants, so when we tried to prise them off with those it didn’t work.

“After trying for 20 minutes we managed to cut the chain, so I now had my hands separated but with a cuff on each wrist.”

Desperate Stewart called his mum and dad, who advised them to go to the fire station.

Sarah says: “After some reluctance we went down – it was around 7pm so they were all sitting in their tea room.

“When we walked in they were in hysterics assuming we’d been up to no good – even though I was still fully dressed!

“A man found some metal bolt cutters but it took him ages to get them under the cuff as they were so tight. Then he used a Nuts magazine to shield my face in case anything flew off into my eyes, which I found even more mortifying.”

Luckily Stewart’s dad wasn’t too upset about losing his cuffs – and his family made a point of bringing up the story at their wedding in June 2012.

Sarah adds: “We now have a little boy who’s nearly two, so this year’s Valentine’s Day will probably be a much less eventful romantic night in – not a handcuff in sight!”

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Widow in legal battle with stepson after he ‘threw her out of home’

Wealthy property investor’s widow, 57, is locked in bitter legal battle with stepson she helped raise after he ‘threw her out of their £450,000 home “like a dog”‘

  • Diane De Marzo, 57, says she lent £150k to Sonny Ball to help him find a home
  • Says it was for him and his girlfriend, now wife, Leahann, 33, after his father died 
  • The plan was she would share family property with them, Mrs De Marzo claims
  • But she says she was ‘thrown out’ of the house by Sonny and is now demanding that he give her the money back – but he claims the money was his inheritance

Diane De Marzo, 57, (pictured outside court) says she lent £150,000 to Sonny Ball, 33, to help him find a home for him and his girlfriend after his father died

A wealthy property investor’s widow who claims she was thrown out of her home ‘like a dog’ by her stepson has taken him to court.

Diane De Marzo, 57, says she lent £150,000 to Sonny Ball, 33, to help him find a home for him and his girlfriend and now wife, Leahann, 33, after his father died.

Mrs De Marzo claims the plan was she would share the property with them – but she says Sonny then threw her out of the house in Abbey Wood, Kent.

Demanding they sell the house and give her the money back, she now claims she was ‘scammed’ by Sonny, who she had always considered her ‘boy’.

‘He said I was like his ‘mum’ and he threw me out like a dog,’ Mrs De Marzo told Central London County Court.

‘In my eyes, he was ‘my boy’. His dad always believed he would do right by his family.’

But Sonny and his now wife say nothing could be further from the truth, that the money was a gift and represented his inheritance from his dad, Michael Ball.


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Mrs De Marzo has no right to any part of the three-bed £450,000 property as it is theirs alone, said the couple’s barrister Lina Mattsson.

She had been allowed to stay with them when she was in need, but was ‘obsessed’ with his father Michael Ball’s death to the point she was asked to leave.

But Sonny and his now wife Leahann (both pictured outside court) say that the money was a gift and represented his inheritance from his dad, Michael Ball

‘They were finding it more and more difficult to live with Mrs De Marzo,’ said the barrister.

‘She was obsessed with how Michael Ball had died, claiming it was murder or suicide. She talked about the circumstances of his death all the time.

‘Sonny was finding it very difficult to cope with the tension at home. He tried to avoid her, staying away.

‘The situation was becoming unbearable and, on 23 May 2015, they asked Mrs De Marzo to leave the property.’

Ms Mattsson said that it was only after that row that Mrs De Marzo started claiming Sonny had ‘stolen her money’ and that she had a claim to the house.

‘She turned Sonny’s younger sisters against him, telling them that he had stolen their money,’ she continued

The house which is at the centre of a dispute between the Balls and Mrs De Marzo

‘She emailed Sonny and Leahann, attaching an accident report with horrible photographs of Sonny’s dead father.’

But in her evidence, Mrs De Marzo – who has known Sonny since he was five years old – insisted that the money was not a gift.

Had she given £150,000 to Sonny, it would have meant less ultimately going to her husband’s four other children, three of whom he had with her.

‘I need to look after all the children,’ she told Judge Simon Monty QC. ‘Sonny can’t just have £150,000 all to himself.’

She said when the property was bought, she had insisted that Sonny and Leahann draw up wills to ensure the £150,000 went back to her if they died first.

Her barrister, Piers Hill, said the arrangement had always been that Mrs De Marzo would live in the property with the couple.

She paid the broadband bill for a year and funded an extension to the driveway so her car could fit, he said.

But Leahann Ball insisted that the £150,000 was Sonny’s inheritance and that her step-mother-in-law has no right to the house.

‘If she had wanted the property to be jointly owned, then that’s what it would have been,’ she said. ‘We would have gone to buy a house three ways.

‘She wanted to see Sonny settled, it was what his dad wanted. By giving him the £150,000, she didn’t have to worry about him anymore.’

The court heard Mrs De Marzo and Michael Ball moved to Spain in 2006, where Mr Ball owned a string of properties.

Sonny initially went with them but returned to England in 2007 and now lives with Leahann in the disputed property in Abbey Wood.

His father, who died in a road accident in 2013, owned a large family villa, a rental house and two beachside apartments in southern Spain, plus a flat in Kent.

Judge Monty will rule on the case at a later date.

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