A lifelong conman has admitted swindling his ex-girlfriend out of her life savings of nearly £300,000, leaving her suicidal.
Mark Acklom, 45, asked divorcee Carolyn Woods to lend him cash for renovation works at his properties after promising to marry her, but he vanished with the money following a year-long relationship.
The 45-year-old fraudster, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to five fraud charges worth £299,564 at Bristol Crown Court.
He was jailed for five years and eight months, with half that time to be spent in custody.
Acklom posed as an MI6 agent and a Swiss banker in a bid to seduce Ms Woods after they met in the village boutique that she ran in Tetbury, Gloucestershire in 2012.
Ms Woods said she was left financially ruined and has had to borrow money from her friends and daughters, and has struggled to get a job.
She said: "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.”
During the relationship, Acklom isolated Ms Woods from her family and friends and even replaced her computer and mobile phone so he was able to monitor them.
The fraudster went on the run and changed his name several times so he could not be tracked down.
He was jailed in Spain following a property scam before British police discovered were he was and issued an arrest warrant for him. However, Acklom was freed early and fled to Switzerland.
He was extradited from Geneva to the UK in February after being found at a luxury apartment in Zurich where he had been living under a false name after more than two years on the run.
Ms Woods said: "I am relieved that Mark Acklom is finally in the hands of the British justice system and glad that he has accepted his culpability for his crimes.
"My hope now is that sentencing will reflect the severity of those crimes and the extraordinary stress and strain I have endured over the past seven years as a result of his actions.”
Acklom conned a building society into giving him a £500,000 mortgage that he used to buy a house in south London near former PM Margaret Thatcher.
He was first jailed in 1991 at the age of 16 for stealing his father’s credit card and using it to hire private jets to fly him and his friends around Europe.