A ROMANCE fraudster who used an alias to scam a single mother on a dating app in Oxfordshire has been described as ‘despicable’ by a judge.

Sebastian Astbry, 46, was first sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison in November 2016 for conning single women he’d met on dating websites out of more than £100,000.

At that time, he told his victims he'd worked in MI5 and had served with the Royal Navy. At one point, he claimed to have £50 million in his bank account.

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He then appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court in 2020 for conning four men out of £12,500 by leading them to believe they would be purchasing news cars under a lease agreement.

Now, Astbry appeared at Oxford Crown Court on Monday (April 22) persuading a woman in Chinnor to lend him about £600 from November to January this year after pretending to be a wealthy businessman.

Sentencing him to 32 months imprisonment, Judge Maria Lamb said: “Your behaviour is despicable. This seems to be a revolving door.

“This was a hurtful deception of a single mother who believed she was in a relationship with you.

“I’m not sure what will stop you behaving in this way that you’ve adopted as a way of life for years and years.”

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Opening the case, prosecutor Julia Needham said Astbry had met the single mother on a dating app in November 2023 using an alias.

He said he was a wealthy businessman and promised her luxury holidays and gifts. He even spent Christmas Day with her family and was trusted to look after her children.

On three occasions, he had persuaded her to lend him money to the total of £600.

Astbry, of Yarrow Close, Poole, was eventually caught on January 8 when a colleague of the victim showed her reports of a conman she believed to be her new partner and the police were called.

It was heard that police know about 28 different aliases for the defendant and four different dates of birth.

He had 67 previous offences for fraud.

Defending Astbry, barrister Alice Aubrey-Fletcher said her client has described the fraud as ‘an addiction.

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“Escapism is a significant feature of it,” she said. “It can be described as an addiction.”

She added that, despite using an alias on the victim, he had considered the relationship genuine. It was added that the false name was ‘not instrumental’ in the offence.

It was heard that the victim is still in touch with Astbry and the relationship has continued.