A 'DEVIOUS and manipulative' fraudster conned her latest victim out of more than £46,000 over a two year period – right up until she was jailed for a similar offence.

Christine Fearns targeted her victim for more than two years whilst spinning him a web of lies about her financial situation.

The victim used of all of his £50,000 redundancy package, as well as losing £15,000 he had paid out for his wedding which was cancelled as a result of the devastating impact of her deception.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Fearns' former partner, Paul Normington, had befriended the victim at work before starting to ask for money on a regular basis.

Jonathan Walker said the victim was left a broken man after transferring cash to Fearns on dozens of occasions during the fraud.

He said the defendant had even used a forged letter from a solicitor in Inverness claiming that all of her money was tied up in the court system and at one point texted the victim pretending to be the solicitor to get more money out of him.

At the peak of the scam the victim has handing up to £8,000 a month through a number of bank transactions.

Mr Walker said the man only received £50 in the way of repayment despite repeated promises to pay it back and contacted the police when Fearns was jailed in November 2018.

In a victim impact statement, the man said he knew nothing of the previous offence and thought he was helping a desperate person in their time of need.

He said: "If I had never met them, I believe that I would have been happily married, financial secure and my life would be completely different.

"In November 2018, I had not told a single person what I had done because i was too mortified to even tell my family.

"I can say I was gullible and naive. I'm a nice, honest person and i was just trying to do the right thing.

"I don't think they have given a thought to what they have done."

Fearns, of Craig Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud between May 2016 and August 2018.

In mitigation, Stephen Constantine said made a full confession while serving her current three year sentence.

Judge Stephen Ashurst, the sentencing judge from 2018, described Fearns as 'devious and manipulative' before sentencing her to 15 months in custody.

He said: "The impact of what you did has been enormous. He feels humiliated, he feels naive for believing your lies."

l Fearns' former partner, Paul Normington, denies the charge and is due to stand trial at the same court in March next year.