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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'MI5' conman wins sentence appeal
Robert Hendy-Freegard
Hendy-Freegard said his kidnap convictions were incorrect
A man who posed as an MI5 spy to con his victims out of 1m has won an appeal against two of his convictions.

Robert Hendy-Freegard, 36, from Blyth, Notts, was convicted in 2005 on two counts of kidnap, 10 counts of theft and eight counts of deception.

His kidnapping convictions have been quashed but he will still have to serve a nine-year sentence given in 2005.

This means Hendy-Freegard should be released by the end of the year, with remission and time spent in custody.

Free will

At London's Court of Appeal, Hendy-Freegard's barrister, Tim Owen QC, argued the charges of kidnapping against his client were incorrect.

He said the offence of kidnapping required, in law, deprivation of a victim's liberty and free will and there was no evidence of this in the case against his client.

The appeal judges, Lord Phillips, the Lord chief Justice, sitting with Mr Justice Burton and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said on Wednesday they would give reasons for their decisions to quash the kidnap convictions at a later date.

Hendy-Freegard was convicted in June 2005 after subjecting his victims to years of poverty after they carried out bizarre missions for him over a 10-year period.

Began affair

The former barman and car salesman worked at a pub in Newport, Shropshire, when the con began in 1992.

One woman, Elizabeth Richardson, who worked in the same car dealership as Hendy-Freegard in Sheffield, gave him thousands of pounds after beginning an affair.

She was also meant to sleep on park benches in Peterborough as a test of her loyalty. She was found living in a hovel in Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire.

Other victims included John Atkinson, a student, who fled Newport in Shropshire when he was told his life was in danger and handed over more than 300,000.

Speaking after his trial in 2005, Metropolitan Police Det Sgt Bob Brandon said Hendy-Freegard lived a millionaire lifestyle while his victims lived in abject poverty.

"He was motivated by power; he was a sad, pathetic individual who achieved nothing from his life but by pretending to be a spy he had power and control over people."

Bogus MI5 conman fights sentence
24 Apr 07 |  Nottinghamshire
Spy conman 'put me through hell'
06 Sep 05 |  Nottinghamshire
Fake spy created 'web of deceit'
23 Jun 05 |  Nottinghamshire
Bogus spy 'took students on run'
22 Oct 04 |  Nottinghamshire

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