British scammer Robert Hendy-Freegard was arrested Friday night in Belgium, federal police said. The man was arrested by the Ghent highway police shortly before 5 p.m. in Grand-Bigard, near Brussels, on the E40 highway, a federal police spokeswoman told AFP, confirming information from the French channel BFMTV. Our security forces checked his vehicle, which was reported as wanted.
Indeed, on August 25, Robert Hendy-Freegard injured two French gendarmes when they refused to comply. The agents had come to his home as part of a veterinary check. The 50-year-old kept a canine farm in an isolated house in Vidaillat (Creuse) with his British companion, who lived there "in terrible conditions", "totally recluse" and "completely under the influence", according to neighbors. Arrived at home by car when the control had already begun, Robert Hendy-Freegard, knocked down two agents, when they asked him for his papers. One of them suffered several facial fractures.
He then disappeared without a trace. The gendarmes then quickly identified the suspect. Robert Hendy-Freegard, is a well-known scammer in the UK. In 2005, he was sentenced in his country to life imprisonment for kidnapping, deception, theft from students and women, from whom he had extracted more than a million pounds, in particular by posing as a spy for the MI5, the British internal intelligence service. The Netflix documentary "The puppet master", which describes the way in which scammers manipulate their victims, would also be based on his story. The identity of his wife also corresponds to that presented as the latest victim in the documentary series and sought by his children.
The subject of a European arrest warrant, the man was found by the police of East Flanders and was arrested on Friday in Grand-Bigard. A large-scale system had been put in place to find him. He will be brought before an investigating judge before the council chamber decides on his transfer to France. An investigation has been opened for attempted murder of a person holding public authority.
"He managed to take power and control over the lives" of his victims, forcing them to live in "abject poverty", an investigator explained during the trial. He was released in 2009 after an appeals court overturned the kidnapping conviction.
"To be continued in the next episode of Netflix"
"Now it will be the return to normal for the inhabitants of Vidaillat. He will be able to answer for his actions. We will follow the rest, his trial and his conviction because he was still a neighbor", indicated Saturday to the 'AFP Mayor Martine Laporte. The councilor of this small town of 180 inhabitants, where the British couple had been living since 2015, however thought "that his run would be longer because he was a very organized person".
For Babette, who did not wish to give her last name and who lives in the terraced house of the British couple, "it's a sigh of relief". "Now, it will be put out of harm's way for some time, she adds. Sandra (Clifton, the companion of the mis en cause, editor's note) and her family will be able to start a reconstruction".
Another close neighbour, Serge, who did not wish to be identified, "finds it strange that he crossed France without being detected and directly in Belgium, he was arrested. I wonder because his vehicle was still quite distinctive. We don't know where he slept, where he filled up..." "With my wife, we thought that he would probably try to return to England by any means. -maybe he was on his way," he added. "A man with such a psychological state, we don't know what he can do." "To be continued in the next episode of Netflix!", He slips.