A woman who plundered the bank accounts of men she met through lonely hearts advertisements was jailed yesterday for two years.
Emma Golightly, 22, seduced her victims and then stole their cash, spending the money on exotic holidays, chauffeur-driven cars and expensive hotels and restaurants.
She told would-be husbands that she was dying of cancer so they would marry her. She told one victim that she was a multi-millionaire company boss.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the extent of her spree, including more than 80 offences, was worth ?254,000, including ?208,000 on fast cars.
Golightly, of Walkerville, Newcastle upon Tyne, even stole from her family, using her mother's and her grandmother's credit cards.
Police began to investigate after her extravagant lifestyle ended in huge bills for the men she romanced.
Jailing Golightly for two years, Judge David Wood said he accepted that she was suffering from a personality disorder but said the offences of theft, deception and attempted deception were so serious that they merited a jail term.
Tim Gittins, prosecuting, told the court that in May 2004 Golightly answered an advertisement that Chris Williams had placed in a newspaper lonely hearts column.
advertisementGolightly told Mr Williams she had suffered from breast cancer but had recovered.
The court heard that by December 2004 she told him she was suffering from terminal breast cancer and did not want to die without being a bride. The couple married just before Christmas 2004, at Gateshead Register Office.
A month later Golightly booked a week-long luxury break for her and her new husband in Jamaica. She told her groom she would pay but it turned out she had put the ?8,600 bill on his credit card.
Soon afterwards they put down deposits on a ?66,000 Land Rover Discovery for Mr Williams and ?13,000 Land Rover Freelander for Golightly's mother, Lynn.
Golightly told her husband she could afford to pay out of savings and inheritance money. Mr Williams agreed to pay the ?1,000 deposit.
She told sales staff the balance would be paid by electronic transfer. Once both cars were in her possession, it became clear the transfers would never materialise. When pressed for payment Golightly presented cheques to the showroom, which bounced.
By April 2005, Mr Williams ended the marriage and ordered Golightly out of his house after discovering debts of more than ?20,000, Mr Gittins said.
In September 2005 she met Colin Fitton and told him she was the owner of a bridal wear designer company. They arranged a quick wedding and plush reception after Golightly told Mr Fitton that she had terminal lung cancer.
But the marriage did not go ahead because the registrar did not turn up and Golightly was still married to Mr Williams.
Golightly then turned to Stephen Bell, whom she had met on an internet dating site.
She told him she owned a home on the Caribbean island of St Lucia and showered him with gifts. After she paid for a ?1,100 holiday on Mr Bell's credit card he went to the police. Golightly was arrested.
While on bail she turned her attentions on Richard Sutherland, whom she had met via a lonely hearts column in a newspaper.
They went on holiday together and when he realised money was missing he contacted the police and Golightly was arrested again.
Golightly pleaded guilty to 17 offences, including theft, deception and attempted deception.