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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Barman denies elaborate spy scam
Mr Hendy-Freegard
Mr Hendy-Freegard claims to have been the victim
A man accused of conning students into a bizarre life on the run by telling them he was a spy has dismissed the claims as "absolute rubbish".

Robert Hendy-Freegard, 34, is said to taken three people "on the run" and stolen 600,000 by persuading them they were being hunted by the IRA.

But on Wednesday he told Blackfriars Crown Court in London the allegations were untrue and he had been duped.

Mr Hendy-Freegard, of High Street, Blyth, Notts, denies 24 charges.

Funded 'mission'

Mr Hendy-Freegard befriended three people; Maria Hendy, who later became mother to his two daughters, John Atkinson and Sarah Smith in 1992 after they became regulars at a pub where he worked as a barman.

They were all students at Harper Adams Agricultural College, near Newport, Shropshire.

Mr Atkinson has claimed he handed over 324,000 to the bogus spy to fund a "mission", leaving his wealthy farming parents from Cumbria broke.

In court, Mr Hendy-Freegard described claims that he was an undercover policeman investigating an IRA cell as "absolute rubbish".

Drinker punched

He also denied telling Mr Atkinson to pretend to be gay during an evening at the pub.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Atkinson was said to have punched a pub regular in the face, something he claimed to have been told to do.

Mr Hendy-Freegard denies a 24-count indictment, including four kidnap charges, 11 theft chrages, five counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of procuring the execution of a valuable security, and one of making a threat to kill.

The crimes are alleged to have taken place between March 1993 and May 2002.

The case continues.

Bogus spy 'took students on run'
22 Oct 04 |  Nottinghamshire

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