Plenty of Fish conman left doctor penniless and heartbroken

An "extremely dangerous" conman who left his doctor lover penniless in a cruel lonely hearts fraud may have to pay back just £1.

Christopher Heayns convinced his victim he was a high-flying barrister with multi million pounds worth of investments and property portfolios.

But Newcastle Crown Court the 35-year-old charmer, who met his victim on dating website Plenty of Fish, was a convincing conman with a string of aliases and

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criminal convictions who ripped off thousands from the medic and her mum.

He had been released from prison just weeks before he started the doomed romance and had also been conning commercial businesses.

Heayns was jailed for nine and a half years and told by the judge, recorder Euan Duff, he was the most dishonest person he had ever met.

Heayns already had a new girlfriend by the time he was sentenced last year.

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The fraudster was back in court today after prosecutors pursued him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Any assets the conman has of his own could have been seized at the hearing.

But the case was adjourned until June because the fraudster has been given permission to appeal his sentence.

Heayns, who was brought to court from prison for the hearing, disputes the amount of money involved in his scam, which was originally said to be in

excess of half a million pounds.

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The court heard the amount involved in his fraud could effect the sentencing bracket his case would fall in to.

A final decision will be made by the Court of Appeal.

Prosecutor Eleanor Fry said the conclusion of the Proceeds of Crime Act application cannot be heard until the exact figures have been settled.

But she said Heayns is only being pursued to pay back £1.

Miss Fry added: "The Crown seek a nominal order only in this case of £1, given that the defendant has no available assets."

Under Proceeds of Crime Act procedures, defendants ordered to pay back such a small sum can be ordered to repay more if they come into any money in


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The court heard it is unclear when the case will be heard at the Court of Appeal.

Heayns had convinced the doctor to use her credit cards and take out loans so they could set up in a comfortable home by leasing a "grand" property which they began to renovate together.

While the trusting medic was saving lives and working exhausting shifts at hospital, Heayns lived a life of luxury and had other women, including prostitutes in their bed.

He also uses her cash and credit cards to splash out on treats and trips for other women.

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Heayns had convinced her that her kindness would be repaid when a high value investment paid out.

When the doctor's access to cash and credit started to swindle, Heayns targeted her mother, who is also a retired medic, for further loans he knew would

never be paid back.

The victim told the court at Heayns sentencing hearing she will continue to work towards her ambition to become a consultant but will live on the

"breadline" because of the debts and interest payments she was left with.

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The medic's retired mum was left out of pocket and has had to return to work.

Heayns, of Terrier Close, Bedlington, Northumberland, was convicted of four charges of fraud and ten bankruptcy offences after a trial.

The bankruptcy charges relate to tens of thousands of pounds of debts he ran up while setting up a printing business.

Heayns denied all charges, but was convicted after a trial.

In a victim impact statement, the medic told the court during the sentencing hearing she was swept up in a "whirlwind " when they first met in 2013.

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Even after she started to see through some of his lies, Heayns always had an answer and kept her convicted he was a reputable lawyer.

The medic said the truth has left her "embarrassed beyond comprehension".

She said: "I found out he is not a barrister, he is a heavily convicted and experienced fraudster.

"He was using this money to take other women on holiday, using my credit card to wine and dine them."

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The medic said she found out Heayns had other women in her bed while she was at work and "spent on prostitutes while I was at work".

She added: "He was able to manipulate and deceive everyone in his path.

"He was slick and charming."

The doctor said she contemplated suicide because of the cruel con and has been financially completely ruined.

A home she lived in before moving in with Heayns, which she worked hard to buy and furnish herself, is now the subject of a charging order and has been

put on the market.

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She added: "I will be on the breadline for the foreseeable future.

"From the day he met me he set out to defraud me for everything he could get.

"He is a professional conman.

"I have no doubt he targeted me from the start.

"It was a highly sophisticated effort to bleed me of every penny."

The court heard Heayns has convictions for 131 previous offences, many being dishonesty and fraud.

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He has used the surnames Poulton, Poulter, Poulten, Paulton and Smith.

The judge told him at the sentence hearing: "I am quite satisfied, in over 40 years of practice in law, you are the most dishonest person I have ever


"You are an extremely dangerous individual.

"You are completely without morals, you are a determined and experienced confidence trickster.

"You spun lie after lie after lie."

The judge said the conman had a "utterly devastating" impact on the doctor and added: "You have ruined her life. There can be no doubt about that "

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Heayns must abide by a serious crime prevention order for five years and a restraining order in favour of the doctor for life.

He was banned from being a company director for 12 years.