fraud fears | 

Fugitive fraudster who targets gay men thought to be hiding in Ireland

“This guy gets off on being a total cruel twisted monster and seems to be happy when he has ruined people’s lives to be honest.”

Matthew Attenborough

A wanted notice for Matthew Attenborough

Eamon DillonSunday World

A FUGITIVE wanted by UK police over a series of frauds is thought to be hiding out in Ireland after attempting to fake his own suicide.

Matthew Attenborough has been targeting gay men through dating apps for several years stealing cash, property and financial details.

Using dozens of different aliases one man who encountered Attenborough is leading a campaign to have him brought to justice.

Jonathan Matthews said Attenborough, who speaks with an Irish accent and has used the alias Rauiri O Chonghaile, is a danger to the public and has urged anyone with information to come forward.

“This guy gets off on being a total cruel twisted monster and seems to be happy when he has ruined people’s lives to be honest.”

Along with other men who have been targeted by Attenborough, Jonathan has set up an online campaign to highlight the creep’s activities.

Earlier this month Jonathan got a message from someone claiming to be a friend of Attenborough’s saying he had died in a Belfast hospital after a suicide attempt, he blamed on the online campaign.

A wanted notice for Matthew Attenborough

The customer services rep told how he met Attenborough after chatting to him via an online app for a week, claiming he was a TV producer working in Aberdeen.

After travelling to meet Jonathan he turned up with two bags and effectively moved in to his home on Saturday 30 July

“You would just think he was a normal person that you’re chatting on a date with or getting to know. I didn’t know he was going to turn into a monster.”

Jonathan said he was left deeply shocked on Sunday night after a physical altercation when he refused to have sex him.

By this stage, a friend who seen Attenborough’s photo on Jonathan’s social media contacted him to warn him about his past.

“It was like a can of worms that just opened.”

Initially Jonathan gave him the benefit of the doubt and went outside to clear to clear his head but on returning home found Attenborough had fled taking cash, jewellery, medication and even clothes.

After setting up a Facebook page earlier this month Jonathan discovered that another man in Aberdeen had fallen victim to Attenborough the week before him.

“All the stuff he stole was actually in my flat, not knowing, obviously, that it was stolen.”

He believes Attenborough went straight to meet him after stealing from the other man.

The online campaign has hit a nerve with the fraudster, according to Jonathan, who said he has been contacted by social media accounts, including the one which claimed he had died after a suicide attempt.

“I got a message from an Irish number to say he had tried to take his own life, that he was on life support and that they hoped I was happy at what I’ve done.”

“Then the next message I got a couple of hours later was that he had died, they’d turned the life-support machine off.”

“We’ve had false lawyer’s letters, that we’re going to be taken to court about the allegations that he spoken to the police and no charges made against him.”

One of the bogus legal letters that went to another member of the campaign was signed with Jonathan’s name.

“I think he thought we were going to go away.”

So far up to 48 people may have fallen victim to Attenborough in the last two years and according to Jonathan more people are likely to come forward.

“It has crushed me, I feel very violated. I feel at the moment I’m just existing. I just can’t believe what he has done.”

“There’s no remorse there, that’s what I can’t get over.”

He added that he’s “sick and worried” that he will get a message telling him that a victim of Attenborough’s has died.

UK Crimestoppers are offering a reward of up to £1,000 for anonymous information that leads to the arrest of 41-year-old Attenborough who is wanted “in connection with a spate of fraud by false representation offences.”

Detective Constable Mark Turnbull of Northumbia Police said: “We are asking for anybody who may have seen Matthew Attenborough, or have information about his whereabouts to get in touch as soon as possible.

“Officers continue to search for him and are focusing their attention on the North West of England, with support from partners, and that activity will remain ongoing until he is found.

“We do not want anybody to get into trouble on his account, so we are urging him to hand himself in to the nearest police station so we can question him.

“I would like to remind everyone that it is a criminal offence to harbour a wanted fugitive and that could lead to prosecution and potential imprisonment.

“If you have seen him, or believe you know where he may be residing, please do the right thing and get in contact immediately.”

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