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Manhunt launched for serial conman after woman ‘fleeced of €952k

Mark Acklom (in 1991)
Mark Acklom (in 1991)

An international manhunt is under way for a serial conman suspected of romancing a divorcee and fleecing her of £850,000 (€952k) in life savings.

Mark Acklom, 43, is said to have left his victim financially and emotionally devastated after promising to marry her.

Avon and Somerset Police launched an investigation into Acklom in July 2013 and in June this year a European arrest warrant was issued. He is believed to be at large in Spain.

Carolyn Woods, 55, alleged that he posed as an MI6 agent and conned her into "lending" him her £850,000 savings during a year-long romance in Bath, Somerset.

They met when the former public schoolboy walked into her boutique in Gloucestershire to buy a jacket and began chatting her up.

She told Sky News: "I was completely devastated. He left me destitute and destroyed my life. I felt as though I had fallen in love. He told me he had never felt this way about anyone and we must get married.

"I've still got the wedding dress I never wore. It was all a charade. At the time I actually wished he had killed me. I was suicidal."

Acklom is on the run after being released from a Spanish prison in March after serving a jail sentence for a £200,000 property fraud.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: "We're investigating offences of fraud by false representation after a woman was conned out of £850,000 by a man she was in a relationship with.

"The victim reported the offences to us in July 2013 as the offences happened in Bath and an investigation was launched.

"In June 2016, we obtained a European arrest warrant for 43-year-old Mark Richard Acklom, who is wanted in connection with this inquiry. He's believed to be in Spain.

"We continue to work with a number of organisations, including the National Crime Agency and the Spanish authorities, in order to locate and arrest Mark Acklom in connection with this ongoing fraud inquiry."

In 1991, Acklom, then aged 16, received a four-year custodial sentence for a £466,000 mortgage fraud after he posed as a City stockbroker.

He also spent £11,000 after stealing his father's credit card, swindled a former teacher out of £13,000 and ran up a £34,000 bill with a private charter jet company.

Acklom convinced the Leeds Permanent Building Society at the age of 16 that he was a 25-year-old stockbroker on £214,000 a year. They gave him a £466,000 mortgage for a £516,000 executive home in Dulwich, south London.