Woman’s best friend posed as fake boyfriend to con her of £117,000 life savings

A girl has been left devastated after her greatest good friend of 25 years posed as a lover to con her of £117,000.

Susan Hughes was even despatched birthday playing cards and presents from who she believed to be her boyfriend named Ste – a former membership bouncer who she met a number of years in the past.

The pair had deliberate a life collectively and penned emotional notes to 1 one other, although it had been years since that they had seen one another within the flesh.

But, the particular person sending the romantic gestures wasn’t Ste in any respect – it was Susan’s greatest good friend of greater than twenty years, Anna Bonner.

Susan Hughes lost her life savings after her best friend scammed her
Susan Hughes misplaced her life financial savings after her greatest good friend scammed her

The “romance was all a part of a protracted plan to con Susan of tens of hundreds of kilos, The Mirror experiences.

Anna left Susan satisfied that Ste needed to get married – however first wanted assist paying for most cancers therapy within the US.

It was all an elaborate lie. And mum-of-three Bonner, 40, was this month jailed after admitting fraud.

Today, Susan tells how she misplaced her life financial savings – and the power to belief anybody – after a rip-off that started in 2011 and ran her ragged for 9 years.

Susan was even Anna's bridesmaid
Susan was even Anna’s bridesmaid

The seeds for deception return even additional – to the Nineteen Nineties, when Susan DID meet a person named Ste.

Susan, a psychiatric nurse, says: “I have a soft heart, I like looking after people, and Anna took advantage of that. She manipulated me and took me for every penny I had.

“I truly believed that my money was going to help a man who I cared about deeply and wanted a future with me. When I found out that it was all a sham, I was devastated.

“Anna was my best friend, I was her chief bridesmaid, we had lived together and worked together. The deception is very cruel.

“She has left me with nothing.

“I now suffer with dreadful anxiety and depression and I’ve had to leave my job. I’m in debt and I’ve moved back in with my parents.

“I have serious trust issues and struggle to trust anyone I meet.”

Susan thought the necklace was a gift from a man called Ste
Susan thought the necklace was a present from a person referred to as Ste

Anna, of Liscard, Merseyside, was labelled “greedy, devious and manipulative” at Liverpool crown courtroom.

She knew Susan had a crush on Ste after they used to go to RJ’s nightclub, in Wirral, within the late ’90s. Susan remembers: “I was flirting with him, I really fancied him. Anna told me he was her uncle and I couldn’t believe my luck.

“I’d see Ste most weeks and I really liked him, but there was nothing more than a friendship between us. I really loved his smile and I felt like I liked him because I knew I couldn’t have him.”

Susan and Ste misplaced contact after the membership closed in 2003. Her friendship with Anna had gone from strength-to-strength – although a few of Susan’s household and pals might already see pink flags.

The girls met whereas working as carers at a supported dwelling advanced, with Susan taking her new pal below her wing.

She says: “Anna told me she came from a difficult background. I was from a very close family, and I felt sorry for her. We got on really well.”

The pair lived collectively and Susan was by Anna’s facet when she wed at St Peter’s Church in Heswall in 2001.

Susan goes on: “Anna and I were joined at the hip. We worked together, lived together, partied together. We argued over money because I was contributing more to the household bills. Looking back, I was being isolated from my family and friends, but I didn’t see it at the time. We did all those things that best friends do. We went out partying together all the time and went on holidays to Florida, Cyprus and Blackpool.

“Anna had a big white wedding, a fancy do and a lovely day. She left me to look after her house while she went on honeymoon.

“Even afterwards, we stayed best friends. She had two kids and I helped out with childcare.

“Some of my other friends and my dad John thought Anna took ­advantage of me. But I am soft-hearted, I like looking after people, it’s part of my nature.”

So Susan didn’t assume something was amiss when she had contact from somebody she believed to be Ste in 2011 – claiming to be working in Las Vegas and doing very well.

Susan, by now at college coaching to be a psychiatric nurse, says: “I got a flutter inside. I still had feelings for him.

“Christmas was coming and Ste messaged me that he’d really like a camcorder, which I bought for him and Anna said she’d post it to him. He was her uncle and so she was sending him a Christmas parcel too.”

Anna Bonner was jailed for 28 months
Anna Bonner was jailed for 28 months

Months later, Susan obtained a message to say Ste was returning to the UK they usually organized to satisfy up in Liverpool.

Anna went alongside too. But Ste by no means confirmed up – Susan later getting a message to say he had been arrested.

Susan – believing that she was in real contact with Ste – says: “He told me he was in prison because of a mix-up on a night out.

“I knew he was a good bloke and I wanted to help him.

“We exchanged gifts and cards, he sent me clothes and perfume for birthdays and Christmas. I sent him a phone and a tablet, as well as love letters and Valentine’s cards.”

Gifts and letters continued to be sent for years – with letters purporting to be from Ste calling Susan “my girl Sue” and “his doll”
Gifts and letters continued to be despatched for years – with letters purporting to be from Ste calling Susan “my girl Sue” and “his doll”

Gifts and letters continued to be despatched for years – with letters purporting to be from Ste calling Susan “my girl Sue” and “his doll”.

Then, in 2015, got here the information Ste “had been diagnosed with testicular cancer”. Anna advised Susan he was so down he had tried suicide.

Susan says: “I was worried sick. I asked several times if I could visit him but he said he didn’t want me to see him in such a bad state, which I understood.”

Anna advised Susan that Ste was fundraising for personal most cancers therapy within the state of Maryland.

Susan was determined to assist and began to switch hundreds of kilos into Anna’s checking account, believing she was paying for a brand new drug that would assist Ste.

She took out loans and bank cards and labored further shifts as a psychological well being nurse. Susan didn’t open up to pals or household, saying she was “blinded” by her emotions for Ste.

She says: “He was so grateful. He messaged me and said he saw a future for us both. He told me he wanted to marry me.”

Over 5 years, Susan paid £117,000 into Anna’s account believing it was going in the direction of Ste’s most cancers therapy within the US.

It left Susan greater than £30,000 in debt and, in 2019, she had a breakdown and needed to go away her job.

Anna claimed to be in America taking care of Ste and was nonetheless placing Susan below intense stress to ship extra money.

In February 2020, and by now near collapse, Susan ultimately confided in a good friend, who was instantly suspicious. They checked Anna’s social media and her actions revealed she was in ­Lancashire.

Susan’s good friend then referred to as the hospital the place Anna apparently labored, however employees had by no means heard of her. Susan checked with the register workplace, giving what she believed was Ste’s full identify and date of delivery.

But she was advised there was no match. Finally, Susan contacted Anna’s then ex-husband, who discovered a bundle of playing cards and presents which Susan thought she had despatched to Ste. Anna had all of them.

Susan says: “It was an almighty shock.

“I felt sick as each piece of the jigsaw fell into place. I felt so hurt and foolish.

“She had abused my trust and my friendship, playing on my affections for Ste. I don’t know if he ever existed, beyond the bouncer I met a few times. There is certainly no record of him.”

As Susan started to understand the extent of the con, she went to the police in June 2020.

Anna pleaded responsible to fraud by false illustration and the courtroom heard she had saved Susan’s cash, whereas additionally encouraging her to ship letters, playing cards and presents.

Police tried to contact Ste however he was by no means discovered.

Judge Louise Brandon jailed Anna for 28 months and imposed a restraining order for 15 years to steer clear of Susan.

Despite the devastation, Susan says she has consolation in realizing she “always acted with honesty and integrity and kindness” – and is holding out hope of discovering love sooner or later.

She says: “I have a close family and many good friends and they are a great support.

“I felt so foolish when the truth came out, but I now realise the shame and the humiliation is all Anna’s.”

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