Suave conman who swindled blind widow out of home is tracked down

Scotland Yard seeking extradition from  Germany of fraudster Mogens Hauschildt

When charming conman and bon vivant Mogens Hauschildt fled Britain for the Côte d’Azur, ahead of his trial for swindling a blind widow out of her home and fortune, he wrote to his  lawyer saying: “I simply can’t bear to  be locked up.”

Three years later, after a manhunt around Europe, that is the fate now awaiting him.

The Danish financial adviser, who was convicted in his absence in 2009 of a catalogue of deception and theft charges that left his 90-year-old victim facing destitution, has been finally tracked down. He had given up his luxurious existence on the French Riviera – immortalised by Somerset Maugham as a “sunny place for shady people” – and was hiding out in Germany.

The arrest of the 71-year-old fraudster near the picturesque town of Goslar, near Hamburg, will come as a relief to officers at Scotland Yard, who saw Hauschildt freed from their custody on the orders of a High Court judge prior to his conviction and thereafter had to chase him across Europe as he repeatedly failed to turn up for interviews and court hearings.

The serving of a European Arrest Warrant on the septuagenarian con artist, who claims to have known celebrities including John Lennon and now faces a lengthy prison term in Britain, draws a line under a string of offences which saw him target wealthy elderly victims, including Pamela Schutzmann, the widow of a London jeweller.

Mrs Schutzmann, who had jewellery and belongings worth £400,000 taken by Hauschildt as well as being duped into surrendering her £800,000 north London home, and is registered blind, today told The Independent she was relieved that the conman is behind bars. She was handed back custody of her house shortly before Christmas but has yet to see the money or valuables.

“I am pleased that they have finally caught up with him,” she said. “It has been a long, long wait. This man wormed his way into my life and gained my trust, only to then steal, literally from under my nose. I cannot see well and he helped himself to jewellery in my own home.

“I am 90 years old and I did not expect to spend my final days trying to secure my own home, my own belongings and worrying that he would one day turn up again. He even managed to change the locks to my own house.”

Hauschildt, who was jailed for five years in his native Denmark in the 1980s for a commercial fraud, had inveigled his way into Mrs Schutzmann’s confidence after he started a relationship with her former au pair, Romana Labunski, who died in 2008. Hauschildt claimed that Mrs Schutzmann was the victim of a burglary during a visit by her to his French villa in 2005 and listed nearly £60,000 worth of jewellery,  including a £15,000 watch and a  £10,000 Cartier-style necklace, in a  report to local gendarmes.

During his trial at Wood Green Crown Court in London, jurors were told Hauschildt persuaded the widow to make him her financial adviser, remortgaging her home and then transferring it to his own Panamanian company.

Hauschildt, who set up a website professing his innocence of the charges, is nonetheless unlikely to see the inside of a British prison soon as he is contesting his extradition from Germany.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album