A right royal scam around Melksham and Bradford on Avon
A Fraudster branded a fantasist conned B&Bs out of cash while claiming to be a close friend of Prince Philip, Simon Cowell and Ed Milliband, a court heard.
Wendy Coleman, 52, of no fixed abode, even claimed to have had an offer of accommodation from the Queen.
She pleaded not guilty to four charges of fraud by false representation during May and August last year and appeared at North West Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday .
Coleman, a self-employed mystery shopper originally from Bristol, stayed at King’s Stile Cottage in Atworth, The White Hart, in Melksham, Woolley Orchid, in Bradford on Avon, and The Riverside Inn, Bradford on Avon without paying her bills in full with £1,635 unpaid.
Nick Barr, prosecuting, said during a six-night stay at King’s Stile Cottage, Coleman claimed to have worked as an international banker for Lloyds TSB, and thought B&B owners, Robert and Victoria Hughes, were taping her conversations to exploit her alleged relationship with the Royal Family which they denied.
Coleman, who was evicted from her rented property in Sandy Lane Lodge, Chippenham, in April 2011, told the court: “I believed that he was recording things that I was saying as he was leaving the door open and you could hear an old-fashioned tape recorder clicking.”
Coleman claimed that she met with the Queen on Easter Sunday last year who offered her accommodation at Windsor Castle but she decided to stay in Wiltshire while her claim for the return of the £1,440 deposit for Sandy Lane Lodge was being disputed.
She lost this claim, and Barr said her rent was £3,135.83 in arrears when she left the property.
Coleman left King’s Stile Cottage, moving to the White Hart, giving a cheque for the £210 bill to the owners along with an address for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle, as a gesture of goodwill. The court heard that that cheque bounced and Coleman later cancelled it.
Coleman ran up a bill of £805 at the White Hart between May 27 and June 20, paying only £250 in cash, leaving a note on the day she left stating she’d settle the payment and if that was a problem she supplied an address for Simon Cowell.
Coleman told magistrates: “Simon Cowell is a personal friend of mine and he said if you have problems paying your bills send them to me, no problem at all, I’ll cover it and we will sort it later.”
Mr Barr described Coleman’s friendship with Mr Cowell as nonsense and fantasy.
On June 22, Coleman, who worked for Bradford on Avon company Odournet, lodged for four nights at Woolley Orchid, and paid £50, giving owner Jennie Leonard, 56, a cheque for the remaining £150 and her driving licence before leaving.
Ms Leonard told the court: “I didn’t trust the situation so she offered me her driving licence until the cheque had cleared.”
Coleman cancelled the cheque and Ms Leonard contacted the police, who started investigations. In a statement and in court, Coleman claimed the licence had been snatched from her by Ms Leonard and put on eBay.
Coleman claimed she had spoken to Ed Milliband about it.
Coleman stayed at The Riverside Inn from June 27 where she was arrested on August 12 with still £720 unpaid.
Andrew Eddy, defending, said: “She genuinely believes she was not dishonest and I would ask you to find her not guilty.”
Magistrates found Coleman guilty of all four offences and asked for a pre-sentence report, and she will now appear at the Chippenham court on October 29.
Coleman had earlier told the court she was moving into Windsor Castle on Monday.