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14 July 2011, 15:38
A psychic who fled the country while on trial for fraud two years ago has been arrested in Spain and is now behind bars for his crime.
The conman used his supposed psychic powers to fleece a heart-broken Watford man out of thousands of pounds.
After going on the run mid way through his trial at St Albans crown court, George Lavery was sentenced in his absence in June 2009.
Lavery made his way to Benidorm on the Costa Blanca where he was recently arrested.
He appeared before Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday (July 13th) and jailed for three years.
But an accomplice, John Hamilton, aged 54 from St Leonards in Sussex, is still wanted on warrant and thought to be in Spain also.
Lavery was originally sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay £5,500 in compensation, but last week he received a further 24 weeks behind bars for absconding.
Lavery, aged 44 and formerly of High Street in Berkhamsted, Herts at the time of the offence, worked as a psychic medium and had been contacted by the victim, who wanted to contact a girlfriend after their relationship had broken down.
The fraudster told the victim that he could help him win back his girlfriend and convinced him to hand over thousands of pounds in cash and gifts. To keep the scam going, Lavery and Hamilton impersonated the girlfriend in a series of text messages giving the man an entirely false hope of a reunion.
Lavery, also known as Simon Lavery, told the victim that he could help him rebuild the relationship.
He and Hamilton persuaded him to part with thousands of pounds of money under the pretext of a wedding between the man and his ex girlfriend. This included an engagement ring.
The victim, a man from Watford, eventually realised that he had been defrauded when he saw the mobile phone he had bought at Lavery's house. He then contacted the ex girlfriend on her usual mobile number, but she knew nothing of the wedding. The offence took place between October 1 2007 and 2 June 2008.
Lavery and Hamilton pleaded not guilty in September 2008, but were found guilty of fraud by false representation in June 2009. They were sentenced the same day.
Detective Constable Phil Freebrey, the officer in the case, said: "This is excellent news that we have now arrested Lavery and he is finally doing time for his callous, greedy crime.
"It sends a strong message to criminals that they can run and try to evade justice, but we will eventually catch up with them."