NEWS
02/18/2014 03:17 EST | Updated 04/20/2014 05:59 EDT

$228K Tiffany engagement ring subject of B.C. lawsuit

Jerry Renkers, a 65-year-old widower, has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court in an attempt to retrieve a Tiffany engagement ring that cost nearly $228,000. 

Renkers says he met Jessica Miller, 31, through the online dating website establishedmen.com in 2012, according to court documents. The retiree says he proposed to the UBC student just over one year later.

Shortly after the engagement, Renkers says Miller picked out a 3.42-carat yellow diamond ring, which cost $203,500 plus an additional $24,420 in taxes, from Tiffany & Co., and he purchased it for her. 

Ten days later, Renkers says, the relationship ended. 

Renkers says he asked for the engagement ring back, but Miller refused. On Valentine's Day, he filed a lawsuit against Miller in B.C. Supreme Court to get it back. 

Widowed months before dating 

In his affidavit, Renkers says his wife of 25 years died less than four months before he started dating Miller. 

"My wife's passing was very hard on me. I believed that if I started dating again it would help me move on with my life. As a result, I decided to complete an online dating profile."

That profile was posted to Established Men, a free online dating website that claims to connect "young, beautiful women with successful men."

Renkers met Miller online, and went on their first date in January 2013. Renkers says he was "enamoured" with Miller. She reminded him of his late wife and he "felt a strong connection with her." 

A costly relationship

Renkers and Miller began dating, and he says he started supporting her financially. He says he spent tens of thousands of dollars to repay her debts (including UBC tuition), furnish her Kitsilano apartment and pay her rent, repair and straighten her teeth, purchase her a new Volkswagen, and provide her with money for incidentals. He also gave her a Visa card and several blank cheques. 

Renkers says Miller's "out of control spending" was taking a toll on him.

"I reach my breaking point when I learned that [Miller] purchased a laptop and a bike for her brother."

Renkers says he confronted Miller about it last month, and the two broke up. Renkers says he has since cut off all financial ties to Miller and is trying to get the ring back before she sells it.

He is now claiming he should get the engagement ring back because the couple never married and their engagement has been terminated. 

Miller has not yet filed a statement of defence. 

This is not the first time an engagement ring has been the subject of a heated court battle.

In September, Charlie Zampieri sued his ex-fiancée Jessica Bennett to get back the $16,500 diamond and sapphire engagement ring he had given her.

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