A serial con artist who adopted false identities, pretending to be a police officer in order to trick vulnerable women from Warrington into giving him thousands of pounds, has been jailed.
Stephen Davey, previously described as “one of Britain’s most heartless love rats” in tabloid newspapers in the past, was sentenced to four years in prison when he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 5 September.
He was also handed a ten year restraining order and a proceeds of crime hearing has been set for January 2020.
The 49-year-old, who was originally from the Wandsworth area of London, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, making articles to use in fraud, possessing articles to use in fraud and theft.
Three further charges of fraud by false representation, making off without payment and malicious communications were allowed to lie on file.
The court heard that Davey had adopted a number of false identities in order to extort a total of more than £7,000 from his victims.
The case began in December 2018 when Davey befriended a woman from Warrington at a bar in Liverpool and told her that his name was ‘Stephen Burns’ and that he was a police officer and a probation worker.
He was in fact a convicted fraudster who had just been released from prison after serving a short sentence for breaching the terms of his previous licence.
Over the following months Davey convinced the woman that he was in love with her and, in order to borrow money from his partner, told her that he was in the process of buying a house for the pair to live in.
He also befriended one of her close friends, a vulnerable single mother, who again knew him as ‘Stephen Burns’.
Davey offered to provide that woman with legal advice, based on his purported expert knowledge as a police officer and probation worker.
He managed to extort at least £6,100 from this victim, claiming, among other things, that he needed to borrow the money to pay for an engagement ring for her friend and for renovation work and furniture at the home that he had supposedly bought for the couple to live in.
Davey even went as far as claiming he feared that he had bowel cancer and needed money for a private scan. Whenever he borrowed money Davey promised to pay it back, but he never did.
Davey also put this victim and a third woman in touch with a solicitor he knew called ‘Simon Davey’, who offered to represent them in their respective family court cases at a discount price.
Both women transferred money to what they were told was the solicitor’s bank account. The account details they were provided were actually Davey’s.
All of the victims’ dealings with ‘Simon Davey’, one of Stephen Davey’s alter egos, were done via email, as he always made excuses when he was due to meet with the women.
As time progressed he told them that their family court cases were going extremely well and emailed them various legal documents which seemingly backed up this claim.
He even told one of his victims that she had won full custody of her children and been awarded £65,000 by the courts. This money never arrived.
The truth was that all of the documents and emails sent by Davey regarding the cases were totally fictitious, and the victims were not represented in court, putting both cases in severe jeopardy.
As part of his elaborate ploy to extort money for legal work that was never carried out, Davey also tricked his victims with fake emails and text message screenshots.
Within these he posed as the fictional police officer/probation worker ‘Stephen Burns’, multiple fake and real police officers from both Cheshire Constabulary and Merseyside Police, a senior member of social services, an estate agent, a builder and even his own family members.
Davey’s crimes came to light in April 2019 when he left a hotel in Liverpool city centre owing money for his stay, having also taken money off a staff member for cigarettes he never delivered and having promised to get tickets to Liverpool FC matches which never materialised.
Having tried to contact Davey to settle his bill, staff members discovered old news articles online, which showed that he had committed similar frauds nationwide.
Concerned by what they had discovered, they informed Davey’s partner, who immediately confronted him and contacted police.
Davey was eventually traced to an address in Liverpool, where he was arrested by detectives from Cheshire Constabulary, who ran the investigation into his crimes.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Laura Gilbert, of Warrington CID, said: “This has been a complex and wide-ranging investigation spanning multiple force areas.
“Stephen Davey is a manipulative and despicable individual who has knowingly preyed on extremely vulnerable victims.
“He is a career criminal whose only motivation throughout was to extort as much money as he could from his victims.
“I would like to thank the victims and witnesses in this case for coming forward and exposing his predatory behaviour, and for the bravery they have shown in doing so.
“They have played a vital role in Davey being brought to justice for his crimes.
“When arrested and interviewed Davey completely denied the offences, and showed absolutely no remorse.
“His offending showed significant premeditation and he attempted to cover his tracks at every turn.
“I am pleased that this case has been brought to a swift conclusion for the sake of the victims and I hope that the sentence imposed will motivate Davey to reflect on his behaviour going forward.”