A CONVINCING conman duped a woman into believing she was twice to marry him, having given birth to a son bearing his false surname, despite his claim to have had a vasectomy.

Ex-soldier Greg Wilson, who purported to be hero firefighter ‘James Scott’, also conned Coleen Greenwood and her sister, Karen Crear, into “investing” £57,696 in fictitious property developments he claimed to be planning, including a boutique hotel on Newcastle’s Quayside and luxury housing on Durham’s Ramside Hall Estate.

Both gave up good jobs to join him in the property venture.

Ms Greenwood also gave him a further £10,000 supposedly to be used in his business concerns, but which he used to buy a new Mini Cooper.

Newcastle Crown Court heard wedding ceremonies he claimed to have planned at Wynyard Hall were twice cancelled at short notice, as Wilson used elaborate excuses, including having suspected testicular cancer.

Richard Herrmann, prosecuting, said when Ms Greenwood, who was in her 40s, fell pregnant, despite Wilson’s claim to have undergone a vasectomy, he described it as a “miracle”.

She went on to give premature birth to a boy, with medical complications posed to both her and her son, whose birth certificate carried Wilson’s fake surname of Scott.

Mr Herrmann said Wilson went to great lengths to make his investment plans appear realistic, forging documents, using fake email addresses and referring to fictitious associates.

He falsely claimed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey was to be involved in the hotel venture, while singer Sam Smith would perform at the opening.

Wilson hired professionals to help market his property plans, none of whom received any payment, claiming in one case that ex-Sunderland footballers Jack Rodwell and Vito Mannone were committed to moving into homes he planned to buy on the Ramside Estate.

Among his other victims were Tyneside commercial station, Metro Radio, with who he took out £17,700 of advertising to promote his property developments.

The sum was never paid while his pledge to support its Cash for Kids charity was another empty promise.

Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club were also left £9,500 out of pocket when he took out and used ‘Platinum Club’ membership for four, while also supposedly “sponsoring” two players.

Mr Herrmann said it was the cancellation of the wedding for the second time that led Mrs Crear and her husband to smell a rat, discovering the venue was never booked,

Having been confronted, Wilson handed his son through a window at their home to his step-daughter, drove off and was never seen again by Ms Greenwood or the boy.

Mr Herrmann said throughout the deception Wilson led a double life, using his supposed shift patterns with the Durham fire service to spend half the week with Ms Greenwood, and the other half with his own wife and three sons at their Darlington home.

Wilson, 39, most recently of Lingwood Court, Thornaby, admitted eight counts of fraud, two of forgery and one each of converting criminal property and making a false statement about a birth, but only changing his pleas on the day he was to have gone on trial at Durham Crown Court earlier this year, having previously denied the charges.

His fraud offences involved sums just exceeding £100,000 in total.

The court was read victim impact statements by Mrs Crear and Ms Greenwood, in which she spoke of the “shock, hurt and disbelief” at his manipulative actions, both stating they felt stupid for believing Wilson’s deceptions.

Julian White, mitigating, described Wilson’s crimes as, “manifestly stupid, given the inevitability he was going to be found out.”

He said Wilson had written a letter of apology, but Judge James Adkin said he did not believe he had any real remorse.

Imposing a six-year prison sentence, Judge Adkin told Wilson: "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."

A crime proceeds hearing will be staged in June to see what can be confiscated from Wilson to compensate his victims.

Wilson was also made subject of a life-long restraining order preventing him approaching of trying to contact either Ms Greenwood or Mrs Crear.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Chris Bentham, of Durham Police, 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. 

“Not content with lying to those closest to him, Wilson also defrauded several well-known businesses across the North East and a number of charities as well.

“We can find no other motive for his offending other than he seemed to get a kick out of it.

“This has been an incredibly long and complex investigation, throughout which Coleen has shown immeasurable strength and dignity.

“I hope that she feels some relief that justice has been served and Wilson is now behind bars. She has already done an incredible job of rebuilding her life, but I hope now she can close the door on this chapter of her life and move on fully.

“I also hope this shows other fraudsters that your lies and deceit will eventually catch up with you, and we will find you and bring you to justice.”