THE devious past of serial fraudster Christine Fearns was revealed when she was sentenced for scamming a man out of more than £45,000.

The 54-year-old was in the middle of serving a 30-month sentence after she ripped off a number of victims for almost £30,000.

She often used the pretence of an inheritance she was due and even went as far as forging solicitor letters to convince her targets that the money would be repaid. It never materialised.

Yesterday, she was sentenced to 15-months in custody to start after she completes the 30-month sentence she was given in November 2018.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Fearns, of Craig Street, Darlington, had been fleecing her latest victim right up until the point she was jailed for her other scams.

The Northern Echo: Christine FearnsChristine Fearns

The man 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.

And the court heard she had used the same web of lies to con a number of other people out of their hard-earned money.

In 2014, Ms Fearns told The Northern Echo that her and her partner, Paul Normington, were evicted from their home in Ingleby Barwick due to mortgage arrears.

She accepted they had a poor payment history, owing more than £10,000, but said there was a plan to repay the deficit. She had lost a previous job through ill-health and other out-goings had increased while their income had declined.

During her 2018 court case, one of Fearns’ victims described regularly loaning her money to help keep bailiffs away and they endured extreme stress after agreeing to act as guarantors on an Amigo loan of about £3,000.

The second victims were conned out of £24,000 that resulted in them racking up thousands of pounds of debt themselves.

The couple said the crime had a "huge effect" on them.

On Monday, Judge Stephen Ashurst, the same sentencing judge from 2018, described Fearns as 'devious and manipulative'.

He said: “What you did was exactly what you had done in relation to the other victims of your behaviour, effectively exploiting others' better nature.

“The impact of what you did has been enormous. All this because of your greed and manipulation.

"Only the most cruel person would not have appreciated the effect that it was going to have upon your victim.”

The victim said: "My life has been forever changed in ways that go much deeper than the financial loss.

"It made me feel two inches tall, and I'm not sure if that feeling will ever leave me."

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