Mark Acklom: Conman's evidence must be taken 'with pinch of salt', court told

A prosecutor has told a judge trying to work out conman Mark Acklom's assets that the notorious fraudster's own assessment of his worth could not be relied on.

John Hardy KC said: "Anything produced by Mr Acklom we have to take with a pinch of salt."

In a long-running Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing, a Bristol court is trying to establish exactly how much Acklom made - and how much he could be ordered to pay back - when he duped his victim Carolyn Woods into giving him all her money during a romance scam.

The prosecutor was questioning a €374,000 (£321,000) Spanish confiscation order that the defence says was made against Acklom for fraud in Spain, which he still owes.

Judge Martin Picton agreed that the Spanish court needs to confirm details of its order, so it could be included in any assessment of Acklom's ability to meet any UK confiscation ruling.

Acklom, 50, is living with his family in Spain after being released from a sentence there last summer and is likely to become a Spanish citizen, the court heard.

Five years ago he was jailed in Bristol after pleading guilty to five fraud charges, effectively admitting that he stole £300,000 from divorcee Ms Woods.

He used an alias and posed as a wealthy banker and MI6 agent before fleecing her of all her money and leaving her destitute and suicidal.

He was freed from his UK sentence and immediately extradited to Spain to complete an earlier sentence he had fled from there.

Crown prosecutors believe that during his life of crime, which began when he was a 16-year-old schoolboy in Eastbourne, Acklom has profited by at least £1.3m.

The two-day POCA hearing was the latest in a series of court sessions that began after Acklom was jailed in August 2019.

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His lawyer, Martin Sharpe, told the hearing that the confiscation laws were "a confused landscape".

Judge Picton suggested that trying to work out a figure Acklom could pay back was ultimately a waste of time as there was "beyond even an outside chance of (it) ever being recovered from a person living outside the jurisdiction".

The next hearing is in February.