Mansfield teacher confronted internet dating ‘conman’

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A schoolteacher from North Nottinghamshire has told a court how a man accused of conning a string of women told her he had cancer.

Amanda Brooks, from Mansfield, told jurors she did not believe Matthew Samuels and contacted his ex-wife for answers – and she confirmed Miss Brooks’ suspicions.

Samuels, a former car salesman, is accused of conning five women – most of whom he met through online dating – and his own stepson out of more than £180,000 in total. He denies 11 counts of fraud.

Miss Brooks, giving evidence for the prosection at Worcester Crown Court, met Samuels, aged 50, through the Zoosk website, but said that after four meetings she accused him of being a liar and a fraud.

She told the court she stopped her accounts and changed banks after becoming suspicious of him.

Miss Brooks, who did not lose any money, said he claimed to have cancer, but after he kept letting her down, she told him: “I don’t think it’s true, I think you’re married or living with someone.”

She said she all but confirmed her suspicions when she managed to trace “millionaire” Samuels’s ex-wife, Caroline Morris, running her own website offering her services as an odd-job woman.

Miss Brooks said: “I rang her. It did put my mind at rest and that I wasn’t going bonkers.”

She said: “After I’d spoken to Caroline, I rang the police.”

The Crown claims the 50-year-old father-of-10 is adept at “juggling” relationships to “obtain money” from his victims.

Another woman told the court Samuels, forged her signature in a hire purchase agreement to buy a car.

A third woman, fitness instructor Sarah Moon, from Chichester, West Sussex, said Samuels had played her for a fool, telling her he was a wealthy “knee surgeon”.

Her disbelieving house-mate did an online search of registered doctors and found no trace of Samuels – whom she knew as Matthew Copeland.

The trial of Samuels, of St Johns, Worcester, is expected to continue for another three weeks.