BRITAIN’S most notorious fraudster, Robert Hendy-Freegard managed to convince Sandra Clifton to cut all ties from her family.
It’s been eight years since the mum-of-two was coerced into abandoning her children (then 17 and 20), but they’re not giving up on their mum.
Sophie, now 25, and Jake, now 28, claim their mum is a victim of Hendy-Freegard’s coercive control.
Theirs and their mother’s story is explored in the brand new Netflix documentary, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman.
Speaking on the show, Sophie explained: “I don’t know what I can do. All we have ever wanted was our mum to be safe and happy. He wants her all to himself.
“The difficult thing is, this is still going on. And it’s happened before, there may be people out that he could have done anything to.”
Her heartbreaking plea for Sandra to reach out continues: “Mum If you are watching this, you should know that the matter what happens we will always be there for you.”
Older brother Jake also said: “Mum If you’re listening to this right now, it doesn’t matter what we’ve been through.
“We still love you and we want you back in our lives.”
Conman Hendy-Freegard – who goes by a number of other aliases – has previously been convicted of ten counts of theft back in 2005.
As well as this, he was also convicted of eight counts of obtaining money by deception, previously controlling his main victim Sarah Sands for an entire decade.
He also obtained two convictions of kidnap by fraud, but these were later quashed, meaning both of the criminal’s life sentences were reduced, allowing him to be released from prison in 2009.
It didn’t take long for him to find Sandra Clifton, meeting on a dating site in 2012 and moving in together shortly after.
From 2014 onwards, Sandra Clifton’s family and friends haven’t seen or heard from her, with the rare exception of an occasional phone call.
Jake and Sophie are now on the hunt for their mother, with the help of their father (Sandra’s ex-husband) and Hendy-Freegard’s decade-long victim, Sarah Sands.
Speaking in the documentary, Sophie revealed: “I don’t know what the right thing to do is.
“All I know is telling people about what we’ve gotten through, sharing it alongside what’s happened to Sarah and all the other victims is really important because people need to know who he is, because this needs to stop.”
She continues: “Robert David, Hendy-Freeguard, David Clifton – whatever name he goes by – this man should be known, because of the damage he’s done.
“I don’t care how long it takes. We will never give up.”
Jake explained how the only time he’s seen his mum in eight years has been in court, via a video link.
He is terrified that the conman now has money from an inherited family home.
Jake explained: “After the death of both my grandparents my mum stood to inherit a house worth £300,000.
“My plan for the property was for it to be kept in trust with me and my sister as I feared Freegard may get his hands on it.”
He adds: “A few months after, as I was looking after the property, she took me to court. Due to the global pandemic, all of the court hearings had to be done. by video link.
“It was just sad that after seven years, that was the only way I got to see her. Throughout the court case, my mum wholeheartedly believed that I was stealing the money, but I was just trying to protect it for her.”
He continued: “The case wasn’t quite cut and dry. The judge, although he seemed to be siding with me, legally, he had to hand it over to my mum.
“David in the past, took someone, alienated everyone around them, and then controlled everything they did. If it’s the case that David is just a man trying to have a life, why has he done the exact same thing all over again.”
Only last week, Hendy-Freegard was found by an investigative reporter, and strongly denied controlling his partner.
Found in Berkshire, he said: “It is with great sadness that Sandra is not allowed to live her life with who she loves and with who loves her.”
He and Sandra are thought to be working in the pedigree dog business.
Speaking to the Sunday Times about his previous crimes, Robert said: “There is no doubt like countless others before me and countless others after me that I have regrets in life, some profoundly deep regrets at that.
”However, and it’s a monumental however actually, I have sat back and tried very hard for so long for the sake of primarily my children and those involved to shun the spotlight and let the untruths go by uncorrected.
“It seems that there are those who were involved in this sorry episode that must obviously need reminding of a large number of facts and truths.”
The series The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman is out now on Netflix