A WOMAN who believed she had found her soul mate had actually met a confidence trickster who left her thousands of pounds out of pocket - and pregnant.
The devastated victim from Atherton is facing losing her home as she is struggling to pay her mortgage and her father, a lecturer, from whom she has had to borrow money, has had to postpone his retirement.
Andrew Horsley pretended he had bowel cancer, backed up with forged hospital letters, and also falsely claimed he was due to receive £96,000 compensation following a motorbike accident.
He accessed her computer to obtain her credit card pin numbers and passwords to obtain items and money behind her back and tricked her into paying for a BMW car for him and take out other finance agreements, altogether involving £16,000.
Jailing him for two and a half years a judge told him, “It is clear on any fair view that you conducted yourself towards your victim in an utterly despicable fashion.
“You entered into a relationship with this woman and set about exploiting your position and relationship in order to take her money to the extent that you knew placed her in severe financial difficulty.
“You took more than cash - you’ve caused her real emotional harm” said Recorder Mark Ford.
“You have destroyed her faith in her fellow man because from the very first she showed you nothing but kindness and she believed she had in you her soul mate but you proceeded to utterly disregard her feelings and exploited her in a calculated and sophisticated fashion.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the victim, Anne-Marie Dillon, a staff nurse, met Horsley, now 29, in June 2014 while both doing volunteer work for St John’s Ambulance.
In a victim impact statement the 31-year-old told how it was her first serious relationship and described it as “a whirlwind romance.” They became engaged two months after meeting and planned to marry in April last year. “I was cruelly deceived,” she stated.
“Almost everything he told me turned out to be a lie. It has left me with deep emotional scars and I don’t think I’ll ever trust another man.”
Arthur Gibson, prosecuting, said, “having formed the relationship he ‘conned’ her leaving her with significant debt.”
Horsley, who moved into her Atherton home in August 2014, told her he was owed £96,000 after a motorbike crash which his ex-partner had misappropriated and the police were investigating. “None of that was true,” said Mr Gibson.
He said he was consequently struggling financially and backed up his lies with a fake email ostensibly from the officer investigating the case. He also claimed he had been recovering from bowel cancer but it had come back .
In December that year she even took off time to go with him to Christie’s Hospital in Manchester to see a professor from the Royal Marsden Hospital in London - but an hour before the appointment Horsley claimed it had been cancelled.
He falsely said he worked for a lorry firm but as he was off sick they would not pay him. “In effect he toyed with her affections, elicited sympathy from her as someone who had been wronged in a previous relationship and was suffering from a serious medical condition ignored to defraud and steal from her,” said Mr Gibson.
She allowed him to purchase items from her accounts and cards but only for individual transactions but he got the information he needed to use them by accessing her computer.
She discovered some of the illegal transactions in November and in late December spotted unauthorised transactions on her Santander account. He tried to gain sympathy by saying his cancer had returned but she chucked him out on December 29.
Miss Dillon then discovered the extent of his dishonesty including changing emails and passwords to perpetrate his fraud. Before his deceit was uncovered she had lent him money, took out a phone contract for him, he cheated her out of almost £3,000 in a pet insurance pay out and she took out finance on a BMW so he could get to work.
The losses she suffered totalled £15,927. When interviewed by police he made no comment, said Mr Gibson.
Horsley, of Rydal Close, Aintree, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to six fraud offences , possessing an article for use in fraud and theft.
Paul Becker, defending, said that Horsley, a pizza delivery driver, had a personality disorder and a high level of impulsive behaviour. “He simply could not control what he was doing.”
He said Horsley, who has children, had worked with St John’s Ambulance for 23 years and now has a new partner. “His actions were diabolical and have caused serious harm.He has expressed remorse” said Mr Becker.
The judge said that during the six month fraud Horsley had claimed he did not have long to live and forged letters to further his deception.
In her impact statement Miss Dillon said she had been left about a £13,600 debt and was struggling to make her monthly outgoings and had survived by borrowing from her 68-year-old father. He consequently has had to delay his planned retirement as he is £5000 out of pocket.
She said child care costs are high and she is worried about losing her home and feels isolated. “I feel physically sick when thinking about it because of him. I never have any money to spend on anything which is not absolutely essential.”
Recorder Ford told him, “The results of your actions will last for some time.”