A conman with ‘jaw-dropping arrogance’ who lied to his fiancée about his name, marital status, wealth and even having had a vasectomy has been jailed for six years.
Coleen Greenwood had a baby with a man she believed was a heroic firefighter called James Scott, who had received £2 million from his mother who was a successful sports agent, and that they were going to open a fancy boutique hotel and bar together and buy a mansion.
In fact, Newcastle Crown Court heard, he was actually Greg Wilson, a 39-year-old ex-soldier, who was married with three children and living in Darlington.
During his series of frauds worth £100,000, Wilson lied about having testicular cancer and faked a vasectomy that led his partner to fall pregnant while in her 40s, with a complex and life-threatening birth when their son was just 23 weeks old.
He said his fire service shift patterns meant he had to be away from her for periods in the week – when in fact he had a second life with his family.
When Miss Greenwood’s sister began to unravel the deception – after he had twice cancelled weddings to his fiancée at the plush Wynyard Hall, two-and-a-half years into their relationship – he handed their baby son through an open window in his car and drove off, never to see them again.
Miss Greenwood followed the proceedings via a video-link to the court and saw Judge James Adkin sentence him to six years in prison.
In a victim statement read out for her, she said she felt shock, hurt and disbelief when the frauds were uncovered.
Wilson, of Lingwood Court, Thornaby, Teesside, admitted a series of fraud charges as well as making a false statement when registering a birth by naming himself as James Scott on his son’s birth certificate.
The judge told him: ‘The background to this offending shows frankly jaw-dropping arrogance and cruelty in the way that you so persistently and wickedly deceived your victims, particularly Coleen Greenwood.
‘You lied about your name, occupation, family details, marital status and, quite bizarrely, faked a vasectomy.
‘You feigned other illness to postpone marriage and to prolong your frauds.
‘You even had a child with Miss Greenwood. So not only did you defraud her, but you subjected her to calculated emotional manipulation in order to be able to extract money from her and others.
‘When you were confronted about what you had done, you did not have the courage to stay or apologise, you simply drove off, out of Miss Greenwood’s life, and never returned, seemingly without a care for her or for your own son, who by then had become attached to you.’
Richard Herrmann, prosecuting, said Wilson met his victim on a dating app when she was a mother-of-two.
He claimed to be a firefighter, and that he had saved a boy’s life by rescuing him from a burning building, breaking his back in the process.
He showed her texts and a card from the grateful family – all made up.
He used fake emails and documents to make Miss Greenwood think he could invest in a development on Newcastle’s Quayside which he intended to open as a venue called @Scotts, knowing she wanted to open a wine bar.
He even falsely claimed that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would be involved in the business.
He used similar methods to convince Miss Greenwood and her sister, Karen Crear, to invest in a property business, falsely claiming that Sunderland footballers Jack Rodwell and Vito Manone were clients.
The sisters put £58,000 into the business and left their careers to join his sham enterprise.
He committed further frauds by claiming he had £2 million from his mother, and tried to buy a £1.525 million home on the exclusive Ramside Hall development in Durham.
Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club was another victim, leading to £9,500 losses after he purported to join a hospitality package.
Julian White, defending, said: ‘Inevitably, he was going to be found out. His fabrications were impossible to fulfil and that of course leads to the question – what on earth it was he was thinking during this period in time.’
'My whole life and future were built on deceit and lies'
In a victim statement read out on her behalf, Coleen Greenwood said she felt complete devastation to discover ‘my whole life and future were built on deceit and lies’.
She said the realisation that the man she loved never actually existed felt like a bereavement.
Then when demanding letters and emails arrived from businesses he had conned, she was left with feelings of ‘stupidity and humiliation’, as she had to repeatedly explain what had happened.
When she found out Wilson was married, she was sickened, saying: ‘I was unwittingly his mistress.’
Falling pregnant to him after he lied about having a vasectomy almost killed her, she said.
‘I saw him after the operation and saw bruising and dressings on his penis,’ she said.
‘I was also shown a medical report which stated he now had nil sperm count.’
Two months after seeing this report I fell pregnant again.’
She explained: ‘My waters broke at 23 weeks and when I delivered our baby I needed an emergency C section.
‘I nearly died during this and my baby was put on a life support machine. We were told his health deteriorated and there was a chance he wouldn’t make it.
‘This all added to the trauma for me to know James faked the vasectomy risking mine and our baby’s life sickens me to the stomach.
‘Looking to the future the consequences of what James did to us is complicated.
‘Our child’s birth certificate has a father’s name that never existed and I’ve found no way of changing it.
‘One of the hardest things I will have to do is, at some point in the future, I will have to sit down with my wonderful son and explain the horrendous truth about his father’s deception.
‘This is a task I wouldn’t wish on anyone.’
Outside court, Detective Constable Chris Bentham said: ‘In my 23 years of policing, I have never encountered a man as manipulative as Greg Wilson – or James Scott, as he would have others refer to him as.
‘He is a compulsive liar who has shown absolutely no remorse for those he has hurt.
‘He built a huge web of lies, the scale of which I have never seen before in my policing career. But as soon as his lies began to unravel, he fled like a coward, leaving his baby son without a father and his wife-to-be without a partner.’
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