A convicted rapist conned a lovestruck student out of £9,000 by posing as a wealthy hair salon boss.
Leon Calhoun, 28, used a fake name when he met 24-year-old Lily Bunn on a night out, convinced her he owned a four-bedroom home in picturesque County Durham and was a doting doting father to a young daughter.
But the fraudster was actually a convicted rapist out on licence after serving a nine-year jail sentence.
Ms Bunn only learnt the true extent of his deceit during his sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, after she finally saw through his web of lies and reported him to the police.
Leon Calhoun, 28, used a fake name when he met 24-year-old Lily Bunn (pictured together) on a night out, convinced her he owned a four-bedroom home in picturesque County Durham and was a doting doting father to a young daughter
The conman has now been jailed for three years.
Ms Bunn, of Newcastle, said: ‘Leon lied about his name, his age, his finances, his occupation and obviously he lied about his feelings for me too.
‘We met through a mutual friend at an alternative rock night and he stood out because he was smartly dressed and different from the usual crowd in there. He showed me a picture of a little girl he said was his daughter.
‘I honestly thought he was a genuine guy and that he cared for me. But the penny dropped when I suddenly realised how much cash I had lent him, and that he was never going to pay me back.
But the fraudster was actually a convicted rapist out on licence after serving a nine-year jail sentence. Ms Bunn only learnt the true extent of his deceit during his sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, after she finally saw through his web of lies and reported him to the police
‘I have been left devastated by his actions. Looking back it is easy to feel stupid, but he was so convincing.
‘I thought he loved me, but he abused my trust in the most appalling way.’
After they’d been together for two weeks Calhoun, who had given Ms Bunn a different surname of Love, told her he had bought a large house with inheritance money and could not afford to keep up with payments on his flat.
He claimed he was getting an extension fitted to the detached house, couldn’t live there while the work was going on and was struggling to afford two properties.
Ms Bunn, who used her Student Loan and benefits she was entitled to due to a brain condition to pay her lover, explained: ‘Leon would talk about the house as ‘our house’.
Ms Bunn, of Newcastle, said: ‘Leon lied about his name, his age, his finances, his occupation and obviously he lied about his feelings for me too.’ Pictured: Leon Calhoun
‘The plan was for us to move into it together, so I thought I was investing the money.
‘But after that he always seemed to have a reason to borrow more cash from me.
‘He told me he was a manager at a salon in another part of the country so when
‘I didn’t see him for days on end, I thought he was working or with his daughter, who I later realised didn’t exist.’
After Ms Bunn, who is now in debt, had been in a relationship with Calhoun for seven months, she started to put pressure on him for the couple to move into the house she’d contributed so much money to.
But the fraudster poured cold water on the plans and snapped: ‘I will just pay you back instead.’
After Ms Bunn, who is now in debt, had been in a relationship with Calhoun (pictured) for seven months, she started to put pressure on him for the couple to move into the house she’d contributed so much money to
Four weeks later, Ms Bunn had received none of her money back, and out of desperation she threatened to go to the police.
Leon responded by blocking her, and she contacted a debt collecting company to see if they could help her retrieve her money.
It was then, while giving the firm Calhoun’s details, she was told he wasn’t the person she thought he was.
And it was at that point she reported her ex boyfriend to the police and he was arrested.
Earlier this week Calhoun, of Salvin Street, Croxdale, Durham, was jailed for three years and given a restraining order to keep him away from Ms Bunn for life.
He had admitted fraud and failing to comply with notification requirements at a previous hearing.
Calhoun convinced Ms Bunn that he owned this four-bedroom property in Durham
He sent her pictures of the property and claimed he owned it
Mr recorder Ben Nolan QC told him: ‘You told her you had a house in Durham, which was completely untrue.
‘You told her you had a mortgage, which was completely untrue. You told her you were the manager of a salon in Leeds, which was false.
‘You even told her you had a daughter, someone whose name you invented.
‘Over a period of eight months you lived a complete lie, leeching off that young woman until the point she had no funds to give you.’
At court, Ms Bunn was horrified to learn that the man she thought she loved was also a convicted rapist.
She discovered that in 2013 he had previously been jailed for nine years for rape and another serious sexual assault charge.
He was released in 2018 with the agreement that he told authorities of any relationships and overnight stays, which he breached when started dating Ms Bunn.
Ms Bunn, who is studying for a masters in marketing at Northumbria University, added: ‘To find out he had lied and stolen from me was one thing.
‘To find out he was also a rapist was another. I no longer trust anyone. I have severe anxiety and have to check every window and door in the house to make sure it is locked because who knows what people are capable of.
‘I feel stupid for falling into his trap, I even got his ‘daughter’ a giftcard for her birthday, that’s how much I believed everything he told me.
‘But I’m pleased justice has been served, as Leon has been allowed to fall through the cracks too many times.’
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