He Poses as a British Spy to Ensnare Women — and Is Still at Large

Based on The Puppet Master: The Ultimate Conman HuntRobert Hendy-Freegard is a 49-year-old British con man who cheats, cheats and psychologically manipulates and abuses women for his profit. A reprehensible criminal, posing as an MI5 agent in order to gain the trust — then cooperation and money — of men and women, he has spent the past three decades defrauding numerous victims. The man completely surrendered himself to him, in the process. they pay with career, family, friends and financial well-being. Worse, however, is the trove of three-part Netflix docuseries from directors Sam Bernstead and Gareth Johnson revealing he’s still big, continuing to prey on vulnerable people in uncharted parts of Europe. .

Premieres January 18 on Netflix, The Puppet Master: The Ultimate Conman Hunt focuses on two parallel stories involving Hendy-Freegard. The first started in 1993 with John Atkinson, a student at Britain’s preeminent Harper Adams Agricultural College, where he befriended a liquor dealer named Rob. The two develop a friendship, at which point Rob tells John that he is in fact a spy, and that he and his superiors have discovered an impending threat from the Irish Republican Army lying right in front of him. in John’s close circle. To resolve this crisis, Rob informs John that they must quickly flee — and furthermore, he must convince his two housemates, Maria and Sarah, to join them, all without did not tell the women the truth about why they ran away.

Buying the hook, line, and sinker of this spy story, John agrees to trick Maria and Sarah into thinking he has terminal cancer, and he wants them to accompany him and Rob on their farewell trip. . It wasn’t until much later on this journey that Rob and John admitted that John was fine, and that the real reason they slipped around England was because Rob was protecting them from impending danger. This is also a large volume, heaps of crap. However, even after Rob failed to give Sarah her MI5 credentials, she continued this sublime saga, away from the net, moving between various types of “safe houses.” and only briefly materialize to meet her father and mother, who will be later. —Peter Smith — expressed great concern about his daughter’s sudden, unusual behavior.

As The Puppet Master: The Ultimate Conman Hunt posing this problem, it periodically fast-forwards to 2011 to focus on Jake and Sophie Clifton, British siblings whose lives were little turned upside down by their parents Sandra and Mark’s divorce followed by marriage Sandra’s later online dating life led her into the arms of someone named David. Even as kids, both Jake and Sophie could tell that something was wrong with David, such as when driving to Spain on vacation, David acted extremely tight-lipped about it. both their surname and passport. Their suspicions are quickly proven correct, with David alienating Jake (who has moved out to live with his father), attempting to cause a rift between Sophie and her father, and ultimately exerting a toxic influence. guesses for Sandra that no one could explain, but everyone suspected was far from healthy.

In a recent highlight scene, Mark returns to the house he once shared with Sandra to find an industrial-size padlock on Sandra and David’s bedroom door – a sure sign that David is holding Sandra captive. However, Mark’s discovery is too late to change everything, as Sandra and David have been missing for the past seven years, during which time Sophie and Jake only chat regularly with their mother and only see her through a 2020 online hearing about Sandra’s late parents’ right to visit. The children had no idea where Sandra was, although more painfully when police located her in 2015, she confessed that she knew who David really was, and that she had no intention of leaving him. ta.

The children had no idea where Sandra was, although more painfully when police located her in 2015, she confessed that she knew who David really was, and that she had no intention of leaving him. ta.

David and Rob are of course the same person: Hendy-Freegard, who convinced Sarah to stay at his company for nearly a decade, as well as trap many other women in his terrible scam. These include American Kim Adams, whose parents were told that their daughter had enrolled in a spy school. Following on the trail of Hendy-Freegard, Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Bob Brandon teamed up with FBI agent Jaclyn Zappacosta to put an end to the scammer’s plot, all based on persuading his friends, family, and loved ones. love him (and his business partners) delivering money. for believable reasons. Brandon and Zappacosta’s pursuit culminated – or so they thought – on May 23, 2003, with an airport hit to lure Hendy-Freegard and Adams out of the hideout that directors Bernstead and Johnson recounts through thrilling surveillance footage. Hendy-Freegard was later found guilty at trial and sentenced to life in prison, but as evidenced by the plight of Jake and Sophie, that conviction no longer bore everyone.

New interviews with these disparate individuals kept the proceedings immediate, as did editors Hamit Shonpal, Tom Parsons and Julian Hart cut quickly, which added to the anxiety. deposition of action. Like so many modern archives, Bernstead and Johnson’s investigation relied too much on dramatic entertainment to fill in gaps that could easily have been handled through simple non-fiction mediums. simple. However, their assured management largely keeps things tidy and energetic. In fact, The Puppet Master: The Ultimate Conman Hunt would benefit from a little more materiality — namely, some of Sarah and John’s questions about how they might have fallen into a ruse that, no matter how convincing Hendy-Freegard, has always been. sly look after several years of wandering around Europe trying to hide from imaginary enemies.

Without exploration enough, their non-fiction endeavor paints an astonishing portrait of a cunning maniac’s use of lies and isolation to deceive and control unscrupulous targets. sin. The fact that Jake and Sophie (with the help of Mark’s father) remain determined to find and rescue Sandra from Hendy-Freegard’s clutches also makes it difficult to convince, highlighting the difficulty of identifying, capturing and prosecute the wicked for whom they are frequently arrested. do with physical restraint and everything to do with psychological duplication.


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