A “callous” wedding planner who conned happy couples out of thousands of pounds before fleeing to Spain with their money has been jailed for five years.
Dana Twidale, 44, blagged brides and grooms who thought they were paying her for services for the best day of their lives.
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But she used the money of at least 24 couples to fund a long-term gambling problem and a month-long holiday in the sun, a court heard.
Twidale, of Hull, also lied to a man she met on Tinder, claiming she was the victim of domestic violence and begged him for money to pay for her mum’s funeral.
Humberside Police said Twidale made repeated requests to obtain £42,000 from the man who borrowed the cash from bank and relatives to "help her".
She admitted 26 counts of fraud by false representation totalling £57,000 during an earlier hearing before magistrates.
At her sentencing today, Hull Crown Court heard she defrauded the couples by offering services for their weddings that she never intended to provide.
The total money only accounts for victims who reported her to the police and cops fear she may have fleeced more victims who did not come forward.
The majority of couples affected had weddings planned for the end of July 2019.
One couple had paid her £2,470 to organise their wedding, which included a marquee.
Three days before their big day they discovered the marquee, tables and chairs had not been delivered.
At the time, Twidale had fled to Spain and was pictured sunning herself in Benidorm.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, another couple said: “Dana promised to make our day as special as she could with all our wishes for the day.
"The added stress and expense of a further £3,500 and having to arrange our wedding in just two days basically; I do not have the words to describe how anyone with any morals would do this to anybody.
“A bride’s wedding day is supposed to be the most special day of her life; one to remember; the memories Dana has given us are memorable for the wrong reasons and I don't know how someone can be so heartless.”
Detective Constable Ayliffe, of Humberside Police, said: “Some of the couples had imminent wedding dates and suffered considerable loss, disruption and worry, unsure whether their weddings would go ahead because of Dana Twidale’s actions.
“Dana Twidale had no consideration for the finances of the couples or the emotional effect of their big day being ruined or possibly not even going ahead.
“Dana Twidale was cold; calculated and adept at portraying empathy to her victim’s which, in truth, was false and a means to obtain more financially from her victims.
"She gave no thought to the effect her lies and actions had on her victims, she was callous.
“I am pleased that Dana Twidale will be made to serve this prison sentence for her actions and, although will not erase the terrible things they were put through, I hope it gives some form of closure to the victims.”
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