Love rat Christian Barber conned a string of women into believing he was a Euromillions lottery winner before tricking them into handing over their cash, a court heard.
Barber won their hearts with his story of his enormous wealth as a result of a £118 million win.
The 41-year-old targeted divorced and lonely victims he met through online dating sites and then regaled them with his claims of own a hotel complex in Barbados as well as a large house in the exclusive Cornish resort of Rock, sports cars and a yacht moored off the South Coast.
He told them he banked with Coutts and was so convincing that he led the women to believe he was a member of the upmarket Barbour clothing company dynasty and to have family connections in Dubai.
But it was all a sham and he was actually a homeless drifter moving across the country from victim to victim.
Barber had no permanent home and although he boasted of driving a Maserati and other flash cars the only vehicle he actually owned was a 2003 VW Golf.
His victims only discovered the reality after he had tricked them out of their money.
They were left bereft when they discovered the true story. One gave up her rented house believing they were moving in together, another broke off a long-term relationship to be with him. Others were literally left by the roadside after arranging to meet him believing they were about to be taken on the holiday of a lifetime only for him to drive off heading for his next victim.
One woman broke off a relationship to be with him while others handed over their savings and cash from their divorce settlements after being told he would invest their money.
Barber, 41, of no fixed address, admitted eight charges of theft, three charges of fraud and a charge of making off without payment for hotel accommodation. The offences were committed between September 2011 and March 2013. He was jailed for 59 months at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court heard he had 16 previous convictions dating back to 1993 for offences including deception, fraud and burglary.
Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said: “Christian Barber is a conman. He targeted lonely and vulnerable women through dating websites.
“He promised them romance. He promised them marriage. Many fell in love with him.
“He spun them a story about how he was a wealthy lottery winner and then deceived them into parting with their money.
“In fact he was a man with a dubious past involving previous convictions for dishonesty who lived in and out of short-term accommodation, a lot of which was never paid for. He was in the habit of freeloading from those around him.”
A 48-year-old Grantham driving instructor was one of those taken in. She met him on the Plenty of Fish dating site, and was tricked into giving Barber her £9,800 savings after he promised to invest it for her.
After a first date in a pub at Long Bennington she was completely taken in.
Mr Dee said: “She trusted him. He spun the story about the lottery win, the house in Cornwall and the collection of exotic cars. He purported to pay off her outstanding debts and credit card bills making a show of this doing it in front of her.
“Within a short time of the relationship starting the conversation turned to money. He asked her what savings she had. He stated he would look after it for her and invest it. She trusted him to do this and transferred the money.”
The victim was tricked into thinking they were going to Dubai on his multi-million pound yacht moored in Dorset. She arranged to meet him but after dropping off her car watched helplessly as he simply drove away without her. He then disappeared along with her money.
In total, Barber conned six different women out of a total of £43,000. His remaining assets of £6,235 were seized and ordered to be divided between his victims.
Recorder Gareth Evans QC told him: “You chose vulnerable victims. They were the only ones who would fall for your tricks. You moved from one victim to another when the money ran out. It was just a way of living for you.
“You set out the bait. They took the bait and you then took their money, their dignity and their self respect.
“In sentencing you I have taken into account the havoc you wreaked in people’s lives, callously setting them up and knocking them down.
“They would be left by the side of the road as you drove off to your next victim. It beggars belief.”
Neil Guest, defending, said: “This defendant apologises through me for what he has done.
“He has had a life of disasters and disastrous relationships. All this conspired to make him very miserable and very bitter.
“He was given to bigging himself up. One thing led to another and he got himself into a Walter Mitty existence. He was a sheer fantasist.”