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Conman who preyed on vulnerable women refused bail ahead of sentencing

The 34-year-old was not expecting to be refused bail

A man who posed as a barrister to defraud vulnerable women has been refused bail as he awaits sentencing next month.

Christopher McDonnell, 34, from Limewood in Banbridge, admitted four counts of fraud by false representation, two counts of theft and two forgery charges.

While seven charges admitted related to one woman, the eighth charge to which McDonnell pleaded guilty centred around him posing as a barrister in order to make gain for himself or cause loss to a second woman.

The two women were described in court as vulnerable and the money involved was in the region of £15,000.

He was remanded in custody two weeks ago – much to his surprise – as a defence solicitor said his client was expecting to come to court, enter his plea and leave.

The defendant’s dog has been permanently re-homed as a result.

McDonnell turned up late citing a delayed flight from England, which later transpired to be a lie. For that he was initially refused bail.

An application for bail was refused again today by Judge Patricia Smyth at Belfast Crown Court.

She said she didn’t know what the truth was given the nature of the crime and lies already told in court.

He is due back in court for sentencing on November 8.

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