Jail for conman who pretended to be top lawyer

Seducer told women he was Director of Public Prosecutions
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The Independent Online

A swindler who pretended to be the country's top lawyer and dressed in pinstripe suits, wigs and robes to trick women is behind bars after being convicted of a string of offences including fraud and theft.

Paul Bint, who has spent a lifetime "worming" his way into the "hearts and homes" of the opposite sex, wined and dined victims he met through lonely hearts ads or the internet.

The unlikely-looking lothario sported all the trappings of a barrister enjoying high-powered connections.

The 47-year-old told some of his "conquests" he was the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer.

He boasted of owning a fleet of luxury cars, including one used in the James Bond film GoldenEye, that he had socialised with former 007 star Pierce Brosnan, was friends with Robbie Williams, the singer, and had been married to Sarah Alexander, the comedy actress.

Bint also spoke of his various homes, including a riverside penthouse, and said his parents were judges.

But none of it was true.

Riel Karmy-Jones, prosecuting, told London's Southwark Crown Court that by the time the women realised the truth about him, he had misused a credit card belonging to one of them and stolen a valuable bracelet from another.

Bint, who owned up in court to a 30-year criminal career, insisted that he had genuinely been interested in seeing if his latest "friendships" could develop into something "long-term".

A jury convicted him of two counts of fraud, two of theft, including stealing a barrister's laptop, and of test-driving a £59,000 Audi R8 while disqualified, all committed between 27 April and 5 May this year.

He was cleared of seven other credit card frauds, and four of driving while disqualified, including one on the judge's direction.

Judge Deborah Taylor remanded Bint, of no fixed abode, in custody until 3 November for sentencing.

Ms Karmy-Jones told the court Bint's "spree of fraud and deception" was "motivated first and foremost by gain for himself in financial terms and also creature comforts".

"He was a conman, a confidence trickster, a man who, it seems, had no legitimate source of income other than state benefits and what he could scavenge off his victims, principally women, by abusing their confidence and trust," she said.

She continued: "Combining an undoubted skill in acting and improvisation with a little bit of research and a few well-chosen props he posed as a successful criminal barrister.

"To do this he armed himself with all the necessary accoutrements. He had a pin-striped suit, a red cloth bag you often see barristers carrying, a wig and gown with a collar, as well as bundles of papers tied with ribbon."

He also needed the "right name", and chose Mr Starmer's most of the time.

The court heard that he met his three women victims through newspaper lonely hearts adverts.

The first was 41-year-old Penelope Edwards, whose "Amazonian" description of herself prompted Bint's reply of "successful barrister and fit".

They arranged a date and he gave her flowers, pink champagne and a kiss on the cheek, before romancing her with Windsor's riverside setting and lots of lies. He later misused her credit card.

Bint two-timed Ms Edwards with Vivienne Walsh, again by pretending to be a barrister. Bint stole Ms Walsh's bracelet to give to Ms Edwards.

He contacted a third woman but was arrested before he could target her.