Culled from DailyMail UK:
Jane Cole, 56, knew that The Gambia in Western Africa had a reputation for being a hotbed of holiday romances between young local men and older British women.
But when she decided to take a break there with her friend Vanessa in 2005, she never thought she’d find herself caught up in one.
‘I’m quite worldly-wise,’ said Jane, from Rothwell, who considered herself too sensible to get embroiled with a younger man. But then she met Michael, a 28-year-old Nigerian bartender, and his charming, attentive nature drew her in immediately.
Michael quickly made it clear he wanted more than just a one-night stand while she was on holiday in the country. He wanted a relationship. ‘I was completely sucked in,’ said Jane.
When Michael proposed, Jane decided to keep it a secret from her younger sister Tracy, knowing she would disapprove. Instead, she flew to The Gambia and married him, leaving Tracy to call her a fool.
Quickly, Jane began to see that she might have been right. Michael said he wanted to move into Jane’s house with her in the UK, even though she had set her heart on a new life in The Gambia, as they had discussed. Nonetheless, she loved him, so she agreed.
But as soon as the couple arrived in the UK, Jane began to question Michael’s loyalty, especially when he began disappearing for long periods.
After calling a number that appeared frequently on his phone bill, she reached a woman with whom Michael had been having a relationship for six years.
‘When I confronted Michael he just admitted it and laughed. “People laugh then they see us together,” he said. I was devastated. My self-confidence sunk to an all-time low. He had drained me of everything, both financially and emotionally.’
‘I blamed myself for being foolish and falling for it. I’m supposed to be intelligent but I never had an inkling. I believed everything he said. And if he had told me the woman was just a friend, I’d still have believed him.’
Tracy admits worrying that her sister might take her own life, because Michael had robbed her of everything. But Jane is not alone when it comes to confidence tricksters scamming women in matters of the heart on holiday.
Around 1,000 British people are victims of dating scams each year, according to the Office of National Statistics.
In 2004, a smooth-talking gentleman named Rudi Sloot began speaking to widow Jeanette Styles, 56, from Whitby, while in Sorrento, Italy. Handsome and polite, he told her he worked as an undercover agent in the White House.
‘I fell for him. He seemed lovely. He came to see me in England and never left. It felt like we’d been together for years,’ said Jeanette.
But before she knew it, Rudi was talking her into buying him £17,000 cars and loaning him money, always promising to pay her back but never doing it.
One night, when he became aggressive, she called the police. They came and arrested him and revealed he was a wanted man, on the run from Interpol for committing fraud and theft all over the world.
‘I felt emotionally betrayed,’ said Jeanette. ‘It was a lot to deal with and I get quite emotional when I think about it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.’
Jeanette is now rebuilding her life with her new partner Adrian, a local chef, and Rudy is in jail, but she has been left with the scars of her ordeal with the man who called himself ‘Rudi Sloot’.