Who is The Puppet Master 'David' Robert Hendy-Freegard?

THE crimes of British conman Robert Hendy-Freegard who made £1 million by posing as an MI5 agent will be shown in a new Netflix documentary. 

Here's what we know about the new show.

Who is David Hendy?

'David' Robert Hendy-Freegard is a British barman, car salesman, conman and impostor.

In order to lure his victims in, he masqueraded as an MI5 agent and fooled several people into going underground for fear of IRA assassination.

Once he won over his victims, Robert would separate them from their families and friends, and use tactics to get money out of them.

Elsewhere in the documentary, Robert Hendy-Freegard is referred to as David, by the family of a woman named Sandra Clifton, who decided to stay with him.

What crimes did he commit?

On 23 June 2005, after an eight-month trial, Blackfriars Crown Court convicted him for two counts of kidnapping, 10 of theft and eight of deception. On 6 September 2005 he was given a life sentence.

On 25 April 2007, the BBC reported that Hendy-Freegard had appealed against his kidnapping convictions and won. His life sentence was revoked but still served nine years for the other offences.

The BBC article says he was to be released by the end of 2007 due to remission, meaning much less than nine years was likely served. He was released in May 2009.

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Where is David Hendy now?

Freegard's location isn't known.

Sandra is still with Freegard, and makes contact with her children on occasion, however, she hasn't revealed their whereabouts.

In 2002, Scotland Yard and the FBI organised a sting operation to track down Hendy-Freegard. At the time, he had been scheming against his American girlfriend – a child psychologist.

The FBI bugged the phone of the American psychologist's parents. During one conversation, her mother told Hendy-Freegard she would hand over £10,000 to him, but only in person. Hendy-Freegard met the mother at Heathrow Airport, where police arrested him.

Hendy-Freegard denied all charges and claimed they were part of a conspiracy against him and continued this story in the subsequent trial.

In 2005, he was given a life sentence for two counts of kidnapping, 10 of theft and eight of deception.

However, two years later, Robert Hendy-Freegard appealed against his kidnapping convictions and won. His life sentence was revoked, and he had been released from prison by 2009.

What is The Puppet Master on Netflix about?

The documentary explores how Hendy-Freegard pretended to be an MI5 agent and made his victims believe they were IRA assassination targets.

Now, siblings Sophie and Jake Clifton have alleged that Hendy-Freegard is currently coercively controlling their mother Sandra, who he started dating and moved in with in 2012. Hendy-Freegard has strongly denied the claims.

The Netflix doc sees Sophie and Jake Clifton sending a heartfelt message to their mother, who has cut all contact with them.

"It doesn't matter what we've been through, we still love you and we want you back in our lives," Jake says.

In the first episode, her children, Sophie and John, reveal how their mother met a man named David on a dating site. It later came to their attention that this man was in fact Robert Hendy-Freegard.

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