Love cheat jailed for conning women

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A serial love cheat and fantasist who conned a string of lonely divorced women out of thousands of pounds was jailed for six years and 10 months today.

David Checkley, 52, left a string of broken hearts and large debts as he conned his victims, including one woman who lost her house.

The father of four, of Fernside Avenue, Mill Hill, north London, admitted 13 charges of fraud at Bristol Crown Court.

From 2003 until he was finally arrested last October, the Grenada national - dubbed "The Man with the Golden Tongue" - arranged a series of blind dates on dating websites before spinning his victims a web of elaborate lies to gain their affection.

His tales included claims that he needed money for a life-saving operation in Switzerland to cure his Parkinson's Disease and that he had met "fellow sufferer" Michael J Fox.

Checkley also posed as a US fighter pilot who had served in Vietnam, despite being only 18 when the war finished.

He told unsuspecting victims that he was friends with US president Barrack Obama and golfer Tiger Woods's father.

Checkley also duped women into handing over money for his various business dealings as an architect and property developer, promising he would repay the cash.

The conman even proposed marriage to get women - some of whom he forced to re-mortgage their homes to part with their money - to settle his debts.

Police said Checkley managed to swindle more than 30 women out of at least £500,000 and splashed the cash on sports cars and expensive designer watches.

Today 10 of his victims were at Bristol Crown Court to see justice catch up with the love rat.

Donald Tait, prosecuting, told the court: "It is the Crown's case that this defendant was a consummate fraudster - a man with a golden tongue.

"Between 2003 and 2009 he conned a substantial amount of money out of a number of ladies who believed they were all the sole object of his affections."

Checkley met women on dating websites before convincing them he was a successful businessmen with the chance to make high-stakes investments.

He would claim to have business dealings in oil projects and building works, duping his victims into forking out hundreds of thousands of pounds.

When they tried to get their money back, Checkley would sometimes become hostile and threatening.

He threatened the son of one victim who had gone to his home in London to try to get the near-£10,000 Checkley had conned out his mother.

One victim met Checkley on a blind date in February 2003 when she was "captivated by his charm".

The woman, who does not wish to be identified because her ill mother is unaware her daughter fell victim to Checkley's charms, handed over £10,000.

The defendant told her he had Parkinson's Disease and desperately needed the cash for a life-saving operation after meeting Hollywood filmstar Michael J Fox, a fellow sufferer.

She took out a £10,000 loan to help him, the interest on which was more than £240 a month.

He then repeatedly told her he would repay the money but failed to do so.

She was forced to re-mortgage her home and confronted Checkley when another of his victims got in touch with her.

He denied the claims and said he must have had a stalker.

The court also heard Checkley would juggle more than one relationship at a time before saddling the women with debts.

He used the cash to satisfy his penchant for fast cars, including a Mercedes and a Ferrari, and expensive watches.

Several of Mr Checkley's victims left the court room in tears. They said: "He didn't get long enough" and "I'm not happy, not happy."

Another said: "I won't be happy until he's deported."

One of Mr Checkley's victims, who asked not be named, said: "I don't know how I feel at the moment, I feel really sad. I don't know what I thought when he was arrested or now.

"When he was arrested I didn't want him put in prison. I didn't know how big the picture was, I didn't know about all the other women.

"I thought we had a future together. I was in love with him.

"When I see him now, he's not the man I knew. Nothing I knew about him was real.

"The man I knew, the one I feel in love with, didn't exist."

Speaking about attending court she added: "I'm glad I came to the court and met the other women, it has made it easier."

Fraud Investigator, Dave Trotter, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We only got here today because of the courage of about 20 or 30 ladies who stood up and were counted to enable Checkley to be successfully prosecuted for his serious, organised frauds against these women.

"All of them are sensible, courageous ladies and I hope they have some satisfaction from the result here today.

"I hope they can all move on a bit and re-build their lives."