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Fake U.K. spy, swindler jailed for life

LONDON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A London court sentenced a smooth-talking swindler who claimed to be a spy to life in prison Tuesday for bilking victims out of nearly $2 million.

Former bartender and car salesman Robert Hendy-Freegard, 34, denied all 24 charges against him, but was found guilty and sentenced on two counts of kidnapping, 10 of theft and eight of deception.

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Prosecutors said Hendy-Freegard claimed to be an agent of Britain's domestic MI5 spy service, and in a 10-year period smooth-talked huge amounts of money from seven victims, whom he convinced they were being hunted by terrorists, the BBC said.

Five of his victims were women, including a lawyer, a psychologist and a recently married accountant who ended up leaving her husband and sleeping on park benches, surviving on a piece of chocolate bar a day.

In his sentencing, Judge Deva Pillay said she had been shown Hendy-Freegard was "an egotistical and opinionated confidence trickster who has shown not a shred of remorse or compassion."

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