Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Woman who conned grandmother and fiance jailed

Emma Charlton
Charlton also admitted pretending to have terminal cancer

A conwoman who attempted to cheat her grandmother and fiance out of £160,000 has been jailed for three years.

Emma Charlton, from Newcastle, used her victims' chequebooks to buy goods and also pretended she had terminal cancer to obtain the services of a carer.

She admitted 23 fraud and theft charges at Newcastle Crown Court.

The 25-year-old, formerly known as Emma Golightly, had been jailed in 2007 for conning men she met through lonely-hearts adverts out of £250,000.

In the most recent offences, she used stolen cheques in an attempt to book an extravagant £73,000 wedding at a country house hotel, the court heard.

Charlton told staff at Slaley Hall Hotel in Northumberland she was the editor of Vogue magazine, even carrying a miniature dog to complete the illusion.

It was a cruel thing you did to Mr Lupton and he lost very considerably
Judge Guy Whitburn

She told her fiance Neil Lupton she was a highly successful owner of a chain of photographic studios and conned him into booking a carer for two days a week after leading him to believe she was terminally ill with cancer.

Police snared Charlton after she used stolen cheques to pay for a charity fashion show using models with cancer at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead, which never took place, the court was told.

Prosecutor Carl Gumsley said it was not clear exactly what had happened to all the money, but that she had used some to pay for foreign holidays and currency, and goods including food, jewellery, bedding, much of which she exchanged for cash at a shop called Cash Converters.

She wrote 19 cheques to a total of £126,387.90 using her grandmother's chequebook and nine cheques using her fiance's chequebook, totalling £28,402.

She also admitted making an online loan application with Alliance and Leicester in Mr Lupton's name to obtain £8,000.

Her victims suffered losses in the region of £38,000, as many of the cheques were not honoured.

Exotic holidays

In addition to the fraud and theft charges, Charlton, of Meadowfield Gardens, in Walkerville, admitted falsely claiming she had terminal cancer.

Mitigating, Michael Hodson said Charlton was a deeply troubled woman who suffered from a personality disorder brought on by low self esteem.

Judge Guy Whitburn said: "What you did was to create a false world at other people's expense.

"And it was at very considerable expense, both financially, and for Mr Lupton in particular, emotionally.

"You deceived him in a way which is difficult to comprehend.

"It was a cruel thing you did to him and he lost very considerably, not only emotionally but financially as a result of this false world you were creating."

She was first exposed as a conwoman in 2007 when she was jailed for two years after admitting theft and obtaining property by deception.

The court heard she met her victims while claiming to be a wealthy businesswoman, seduced them and then stole their cash, spending the money on exotic holidays, chauffeur-driven cars and expensive hotels and restaurant meals.

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