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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 22:48 GMT
Jail for lonely-hearts conwoman
Emma Golightly
Emma Golightly told one man she did not want to die unmarried
A woman who conned tens of thousands of pounds from men she met through newspaper and internet dating sites has been jailed for two years.

Emma Golightly, from Newcastle, claimed to be a wealthy businesswoman.

The 22-year-old, who even convinced one man she had cancer so he would marry her, used her victims' credit cards to fund her lavish lifestyle.

She was jailed by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting theft and obtaining property by deception.

The court heard her 18-month crime spree included more than 80 offences and was worth 254,000.

The cash was spent on holidays, fast cars, shoes and beauty treatments.

Lavish gifts

Golightly told one of the men she had terminal cancer and did not want to die an unmarried woman.

This is not the usual case that comes before the crown court of someone simply stealing to fund themselves a lavish lifestyle
Peter Schofield
Defence counsel

She then took him on an 8,000 honeymoon, which he was unaware was paid for using his credit card.

A year later, she arranged another wedding with another man, and again paid for it with his credit card without his knowledge.

Judge David Wood told Golightly: "Over a period of quite a long time you befriended a number of men and pretended to them you were rich, terminally ill and in need of a husband.

"You encouraged them by offering lavish gifts whilst all the time you had stolen their cheque books or credit cards and were using them for your own advantage."

Personality disorder

Defending Golightly, Peter Schofield said she and her family were struggling to come to terms with the death of her younger brother in December.

"This is not the usual case that comes before the crown court of someone simply stealing to fund themselves a lavish lifestyle."

Mr Schofield said Golightly was suffering from a "long-term and complex personality disorder" that would "take a great deal of professional intervention to improve".

The judge accepted the defence's mitigation, but said the offences were so serious only custody could be justified.

Golightly, who broke down in tears several times during the hearing, had pleaded guilty to 17 offences, including theft, deception and attempted deception.

Reaction from outside Newcastle Crown Court

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