An internet dating fraudster who posed as a grieving businessman has been jailed for conning lonely hearts out of £13,000.
Kris Lyndsay told one woman he ran a solar power firm, then posed as a family man struggling to overcome the loss of his wife and daughter in a car crash when he met his second victim.
The serial con artist was sentenced to four years over what a judge called ‘callous, manipulative and pre-meditated’ lies.
He was out on licence from a jail term for another fraud when he met both women, Taunton Crown Court heard.
Lyndsay targeted his first victim, Anna Walczak, a Polish national working as a care assistant in Devon, just weeks after being released in December 2014.
He was seen arriving at court with a new Polish girlfriend, whom he met on another dating website.
Lyndsay convinced Miss Walczak to invest £3,250 from the proceeds of selling her family’s land into a fictitious nightclub, the court heard. He repaid £1,000 after the pair split last spring.
Soon after, he persuaded mother-of-two Annemarie Fletcher, from Glastonbury, to part with a Cartier watch and diamond ring worth £40,000 by claiming he was having cash flow issues at work, pawning the jewellery for a tenth of its value.
Both women were duped by the well-dressed conman’s lies about owning a water bottling plant, a networking firm and nightclubs.
Prosecutor Ian Fenny said he worked part-time for a logistics firm, while his online CV and profile on dating app Tinder were fictional.
He also described Lyndsay’s claim to Miss Walczak that he ran a solar panel firm as a ‘complete sham’.
Miss Fletcher, 42, joined Tinder after separating from her husband. Lyndsay soon approached her and they formed a relationship. In return for ‘borrowing’ £5,930 he offered to pay the following year’s school fees for her daughter to continue at the elite Millfield public school in Somerset.
But the child had to be withdrawn from the school because his deceptions left Miss Fletcher unable to meet the cost.
He was finally rumbled when he begged £2,000 off Miss Fletcher, supposedly to complete the purchase of a £950,000 home in Somerton, Somerset.
When he failed to repay her, she discovered the house was still on the market. She then contacted Queen’s College, a public school in Taunton where Lyndsay had said his daughter had been a pupil until her death – and discovered the child was alive and had only left the school due to unpaid fees.
Lyndsay, from St Austell in Cornwall, admitted three counts of fraud involving the two women at a previous hearing.
Miss Fletcher, who is now writing a book about her experience, said: ‘I was manipulated and exploited and made to feel I was going mad and I’ve always thought I was strong and in control… I feel most sorry for my daughter – who had to leave Millfield and was then bullied at her next school – and his daughter. How anyone can say their child has been killed is beyond me.’