Serial conwoman back behind bars following fraud

A serial conwoman jailed for fleecing men she met on the internet was today back behind bars after admitting a string of fraud charges.

Emma Charlton, who was formerly known as Emma Golightly, wove a web of deceit in an attempt to fleece her grandmother and fiance out of £150,000.

The 25-year-old, of Meadowfield Gardens, in Walkerville, Newcastle, used stolen cheques in an attempt to book a lavish £73,000 wedding at a country house hotel.

She told staff at Slaley Hall Hotel in Northumberland she was the editor of Vogue magazine, even carrying a miniature dog to complete the illusion.

She told her fiance Neil Lupton she was a highly successful businesswoman who ran a chain of photographic studios, claiming her father was a judge and that she had been married to a Greek soldier.

He believed she was terminally ill with cancer and was conned into booking for her the service of a carer for two days a week.

When he grew suspicious after a series of cheques she'd written bounced, she claimed the bank had frozen her account after burglars ransacked her Leeds photographic office.

She even told him she was adopted in Africa when he grew suspicious her age did not match the date of birth on her passport.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Charlton was snared by police after she used stolen cheques to pay for a charity fashion show using models with cancer at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead, which never took place.

Prosecutor Carl Gumsley said it was not clear exactly what had happened to all the money Charlton had conned, but that she had used it to pay for foreign holidays and currency, and goods including food, jewellery, bedding, much of which she exchanged for cash at a shop called Cash Converters.

Charlton wrote 19 cheques to a total of £126,387.90 using her grandmother's chequebook and nine cheques using her fiance's chequebook, totalling £28,402.

She also admitted making an online loan application with Alliance and Leicester in her fiance's name to obtain £8,000.

Charlton's victims suffered losses in the region of £38,000, as many of the cheques were not honoured.

Mitigating, Michael Hodson said Charlton was a deeply troubled woman who suffered from a personality disorder brought on by low self esteem.

He said: "She is not motivated by self interest. She is trying to create a fantasy world in which she feels better about herself.

"Of course, people have been desperately hurt by that."

Golightly spoke only to confirm her name.

She admitted a total of 23 charges of fraud and theft committed between September 2008 and May 2009.

She broke down in tears and began to hyperventilate as she was sentenced.

Jailing her for three years, Judge Guy Whitburn said: "What you did was to create a false world at other people's expense.

"And it was at very considerable expense, both financially, and for Mr Lupton in particular, emotionally.

"You deceived him in a way which is difficult to comprehend.

"It was a cruel thing you did to him and he lost very considerably, not only emotionally but financially as a result of this false world you were creating."

Charlton was first exposed as a serial love rat and conwoman when she was jailed in 2007 for two years for plundering the bank accounts of men she met through lonely hearts ads.

She met her victims, seduced them and then stole their cash, spending the money on exotic holidays, chauffeur-driven cars and expensive hotels and restaurants.

Golightly told one victim she was a multi-millionaire company boss and even told would-be husbands that she was dying of cancer so they would marry her.

The extent of her crime spree, including more than 80 offences, was worth £254,000, including £208,000 on fast cars.

She even ripped off her own family, using her mother and grandmother's credit cards.

Police began to probe the deceptions after her extravagant lifestyle ended in huge bills for the men she romanced.

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