Advertisement

Serial romance fraudster’s failed deportation left him free to con £100,000 from women

David Checkley, who has been jailed for 11 years
David Checkley variously claimed that he was a former fighter pilot, a Vietnam War veteran and a successful architect - Metropolitan Police

A serial romance fraudster, who was supposed to be deported after being caught in 2010, has been jailed for another 11 years following his conviction for a string of almost identical crimes.

David Checkley, 65, conned at least 10 women out of a total of £100,000, variously claiming that he was a former fighter pilot, a Vietnam War veteran and a successful architect.

He used the cash to fund a lavish lifestyle buying luxury watches, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and top of the range cars.

But it has emerged that Checkley, who was born in Grenada, should not have even been in the country because his deportation was ordered after his conviction for similar romance frauds.

In 2010, he was jailed for six years and 10 months after pleading guilty to tricking a number of lonely divorced women out of thousands of pounds.

At the time, police feared that he may have targeted more than 30 women, duping them out of half a million pounds, but that many of his victims were too ashamed to come forward.

Among the lies that he told were that he needed money for an operation to cure his Parkinson’s disease and that he had met actor and “fellow sufferer” Michael J Fox.

At one stage he even claimed to be the father of the golfer Tiger Woods and friends with Barack Obama, the US president at the time.

‘Abused honest intentions of victims’

Sentencing him at Bristol Crown Court in 2010 following an investigation by Avon and Somerset Police, Checkley was warned by the judge that he faced deportation on release.

But his removal did not happen, and using the alias David Cohen, he again embarked on a callous campaign of targeting vulnerable but wealthy women.

He persuaded the women to part with huge sums of money by fabricating a complex web of stories to trick them.

His victims ranged in age from 40 to 70 and were located across the UK.

Checkley had been involved in long-term relationships with some of his victims.

Following an eight-week trial at the Old Bailey, Checkley was found guilty of 19 counts of fraud and one count of theft.

Det Supt John Roch, from the Met Police’s economic crime team, said: “There is no doubt that Checkley is a prolific and systematic fraudster who spun a web of lies to his victims.

“He abused the honest intentions of his victims in the most callous way. He is a fantasist who claimed to lead an enviable lifestyle but in reality, he is a criminal who deceived innocent people for his own financial gain.”

Checkley was previously jailed for five years for false imprisonment and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm for his part in the killing of Mark Levy, a presenter on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast, in 2000. He was acquitted of Levy’s murder.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.