[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Bogus MI5 conman fights sentence
Robert Hendy-Freegard
Hendy-Freegard said his kidnap convictions were incorrect
A Nottinghamshire man who posed as a spy to con his victims out of 1m has appealed against his convictions.

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

The former barman told people from Sheffield, London and Newcastle their lives were in danger and convinced them to carry out bizarre loyalty tests.

Barrister Tim Owen QC said his client's kidnap convictions were incorrect.

At London's Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Mr Owen 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 Hendy-Freegard.

If the appeal is allowed, Hendy-Freegard would be left with a nine-year sentence for 18 charges of fraud and theft rather than his current life sentence for kidnapping.

'Motivated by power'

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.

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 the conman 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."




SEE ALSO
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

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific