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The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman: Netflix True Crime Will Be Your Next Binge Watch

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The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman: Netflix True Crime Will Be Your Next Binge Watch

Netflix has announced a new true crime documentary about connman and imposter Robert Hendy-Freegard, who stole close to £1m from at least seven women and one man.

Hendy-Freegard worked at a pub in Shropshire and a car dealership, where he met some of his victims.

He would tell them he was an undercover MI5 agent, Special Branch or part of Scotland Yard working against the IRA, with his crimes and lies spanning a decade.

Robert would often meet his victims at the pub (Credit: Unsplash)
Robert would often meet his victims at the pub (Credit: Unsplash)
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After meeting his victims, Hendy-Freegard would make tell them they were somehow involved in IRA attacks and demanded they cut off contact with their family and friends and go into hiding in poor conditions and give him their money. 

Three students who Hendy-Freegard met in 1992 became entangled in his lies after he convinced them he was investigating an IRA cell at their college.

He made them go ‘undercover’ after telling them they were in danger because of their association with him.

The group moved to Sheffield with Hendy-Freegard and gave him all their money, with one of the women ultimately having two children with him.

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Robert worked at a car dealership (Credit: Pexels)
Robert worked at a car dealership (Credit: Pexels)

Hendy-Freegard also tried to convince a Sheffield jeweller into recruiting him into his ‘organisation', and he told a woman in Newcastle he needed money to pay off IRA killers. She gave him £16,000 over six years.

One of Hendy-Freegard's victims, student John Atkinson, handed over more than £300,000.

He also conned people out of money when they bought cars from the dealership where he worked.

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DS Robert Brandon of the Fraud Unit at Scotland Yard talking about Robert's crimes in June 2005 (Credit: Alamy)
DS Robert Brandon of the Fraud Unit at Scotland Yard talking about Robert's crimes in June 2005 (Credit: Alamy)

In 2002, Scotland Yard and the FBI organised a sting operation after Hendy-Freegard tried to con an American psychologist.

When the psychologist's mum agreed to hand over the money in person at Heathrow Airport, the police and arrested him.

In June 2005, after an eight-month trial at Blackfriars Crown Court, Hendy-Freegard was convicted for two counts of kidnapping, 10 of theft and 8 of deception. 

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He was given a life sentence on 6 September 2005, but his life sentence was revoked after an appeal against his kidnapping convictions in April 2007. He still served nine years for the other offences.

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman drops on Netflix in 2022.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: TV And Film, Netflix, True Crime

Gregory Robinson
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