The story of a young woman auctioning off her virginity to pay for her university fees captivated the world - but it now appears it could have been an elaborate and long-running hoax.
Ineed co-founder Murray Arnesen told the Herald on Sunday this week that the 19-year-old Northland woman, known only as Unigirl, had married the man who bought her virginity for $45,000. The couple had a baby in September last year.
The paper then received an email from a "Lisa Miles" at the webmail address firstname.lastname@example.org. She was working as a beauty therapist in Tauranga, she said, and her husband ran an accounting practice. She had put her innocence to auction because she had a very large debt and no way to pay it.
"It was a spur-of-the- moment decision and it was almost over as quick as it began. I expected to only earn $3000 or maybe $4000 but after only two days the highest bidder was $55,000. I interviewed that man by telephone but did not feel he was the right person. I settled on the $45,000 as the person seemed very nice and genuine."
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Miles claimed she and her husband were married in December 2010 and had their first child in September 2011, precisely nine months later.
The Herald on Sunday can find no record of the woman or her husband living or working in Tauranga, and Arunsen has washed his hands of the story. The paper spoke to many of the 26 friends of the Facebook account attached to Miles' email address, but none had ever met her or knew who she was. The Facebook photo was, in fact, of English supermodel Agyness Deyn (pictured).