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Crime News

Who Is Robert Hendy-Freegard, The Man Who Pretended To Be A Spy From ‘The Puppet Master'

Robert Hendy-Freegard tricked at least seven women and one man out of almost one million pounds while posing as a spy within Britain's M-15. 

By Gina Tron
Robert Hendy Freegard Netflix

A new docuseries is focusing on the crimes of a serial scammer who managed to convince numerous people that he was a spy before pilfering their bank accounts and flipping their lives upside down.

Robert Hendy-Freegard is the conman at the heart of “The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman,” which dropped on Monday on Netflix.

In a synopsis, Netflix states that the “chilling series explores the story of Robert Freegard, who, over the course of two decades, controlled, conned and fleeced at least seven women and one man out of almost one million pounds, with his devious charm.”

Hendy-Freegard, whom Netflix has called one of the world’s most audacious conmen” was convicted in 2005 on two counts of kidnapping, 10 counts of theft and eight counts of deception, the BBC reported in 2007. The outlet reported that he regularly left his victims in poverty after he manipulated them into doing bizarre missions for him.

While working as both a bartender and car salesman in Shropshire, England in 1992, he manipulated Elizabeth Richardson, his coworker at the car dealership, into giving him thousands of pounds and forced her to sleep on public park benches. He claimed that by doing so, she was proving her loyalty, according to the BBC. “The Puppet Master” details how Hendy-Freegard routinely manipulated people into thinking that such loyalty tests were required by his employers with MI5, the United Kingdom’s secret intelligence service.

Hendy-Freegard would travel from country to country, often posing as an MI5 spy, convincing people they needed to go into hiding and give him money to protect them from being killed by the Irish Republican Army.  t

John Atkinson was a student when he was conned into giving Hendy-Freegard over £300,000, the BBC reported. 

Sandra Clifton, another victim, met the con artist on a dating site and her whereabouts are currently unknown. “The Puppet Master” begins with interviews with her family. 

"He [Hendy-Freegard] was motivated by power; he was a sad, pathetic individual who achieved nothing from his life but by pretending to be a spy he had power and control over people,” Metropolitan Police Det Sgt Bob Brandon said, the BBC reported in 2007.

While Hendy-Freegard was originally sentenced to life behind bars, he appealed the kidnapping convictions in 2007 and won. He has apparently been released and the filmmakers of the Netflix series are unaware of his current whereabouts.